morris mn - We're a community on the grand, seemingly endless prairie of the Upper Midwest. Empty, you might say? It's the epitome of richness, both in the overall environment and the hardy souls who populate. Morris is home to the University of Minnesota-Morris, a small public liberal arts college of distinction.
History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).
Friday, August 9, 2013
Irondale Marching Knights no fairy tale fantasy!
Photo from Irondale Bands website
"Fairy tales enchant those lucky children whose parents still read
to them." So wrote Roger Ebert as part of his review of the 2005 movie
"The Brothers Grimm."
Fairy tales are enchanting for followers of the Irondale marching
band of Mounds View. The Brothers Grimm give the theme for the current
spectacular show of this inspired group of young people. Morris is
blessed having this group visit to practice and perform each summer. The
Friday night show isn't totally formal. The audience gets to learn how
the band steadily polishes its performance.
The annual show is free to the public. What a gem of an
entertainment treat during the otherwise rather slow summer months.
Making the show/demonstration even more special is that it's at Big Cat
Stadium. The surroundings, including our two towering wind turbines,
provide a spectacular backdrop. The promotion in the week before seems
to consist of nothing but posted bills around town. The turnout ought to
be bigger. But of course it's July. The 2013 performance was on Friday,
This fall, people will be coming to Big Cat to consume football.
I'm not sure I'll be there this year. Any reasoned consideration of the
sport of football would lead one to conclude it should be banned for
youth. Football will get along without me fine. However, I believe I'm
the only person who has posted online photo albums (viewable via the
slide show format) of Tiger football in each of the last three years. I
would hope this service has been deemed valuable.
You will find some music educators who pooh-pooh marching band.
Such sticks in the mud are not uncommon in academia. From a pure musical
standpoint, you might argue that your typical marching band doesn't
afford that much musical enrichment. Their repertoire might not go much
beyond one tune that they really polish. The rewards for the kids go far
beyond that, though. The discipline, organization and camaraderie are
big rewards. It's a process of polishing a product - a model for what
the kids will do as adults.
Last year I observed that the Irondale Marching Knights played
music that was too "modern" for my musical tastes. I was quick to add
that my tastes shouldn't be considered as a model for the norm. This
year we heard a nice blend of the modern stuff and a show-ending
performance of the totally traditional. The kids can do the traditional
stuff after all! I shouldn't be surprised.
I will emphasize again how much more healthy this activity seems
than sports and sports camps. I wonder if Morris Area High could be
inspired to develop a program like this, not "your father's marching
band" but an avant garde halftime show band.
If anyone from Irondale is reading this, I'd like to suggest you
try some tunes associated with the Bill Chase band of the 1970s. I have
heard drum and bugle corps versions of three of those tunes. The one
that seems especially well-suited to a band performance is "Handbags and
Gladrags." The other two are "Open Up Wide" (technically very
difficult) and "Get It On" (Chase's greatest hit). A friend and I
attended a Chase band reunion concert in St. Paul in 2007. It was on the
same night the bridge fell into the Mississippi River. We had to call
home to tell everyone we were safe. Sheesh, I get to the Twin Cities
about once every ten years, and then I go on the same night as this.
The Marching Knights of Irondale High School totally live up to
their billing. They pride themselves on being recognized as a
progressive and innovative organization. To be precise, they call
themselves "a competitive field show band." There are over 120 members.
They represent Mounds View Independent School District #621, serving the
communities of Arden Hills, Mounds View, New Brighton and Shoreview.
Let's quote from a handout we received at Big Cat: "The Marching
Knights strive for excellence in music and marching through hard work,
dedication and the pursuit of quality performance. This outstanding
competitive performance group also provides opportunities for members to
develop leadership, teamwork, interpersonal growth, goal-setting, time
management and self-discipline."
The Marching Knights compete in Minnesota, Wisconsin and in the
Super Regional in St. Louis MO where last year's show, "Villains,
Scoundrels and Bad Guys," took 15th out of 51 bands.
Each summer the band "gets out of town" for a week to focus on
learning and refining the competitive field show that will be presented
in the fall. They "get out of town" to Morris! Maybe some of these youth
can get interested in attending the U of M-Morris.
"This is our third summer in Morris," the handout read, "and we are
thrilled by the reception we have received both from the college and
the community at large."
Let's go for year #4 next summer!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org