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Thomas J. West Music

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Great Performances - West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band 2010

The school I currently teach for is right across the street from the practice field for the "Incomparable" Golden Rams Marching Band of West Chester University. I hear them all the time each fall, and occasionally I stop by after work and watch a bit of rehearsal. Rarely do I actually get to see them in uniform performing. This year, I got to watch their final performance of the season from the press box at Hersheypark Stadium! WCU played in exhibition at the Cavalcade of Bands Championship show on Saturday, November 13th, for which I judged music ensemble for the American Conference A and Open class shows. The show is called "Barber" and is quite a concept. This year marks the 100th birthday of the late American composer Samuel Barber, who is a West Chester, PA native. The show begins with an uptempo version of his most famous work, "Adagio for Strings" followed by strains of his "School for Scandal", a commonly used piece of music for the field. Later in the production, the band performs selections from Rossini's opera "The Barber of Saville". What ties the whole barber theme together is the storyline portrayed by the color guard. Recorded dialogue is amplified, telling the story of a bride and her bridesmaids arriving at a hair salon to get their hair done for the big day, and drama ensues. There's a great moment toward the end where the hairstylist makes the final adjustments with a giant pair of scissors while the trombone section does the classic "head chopper suicide line" on the front hash. Hats off to Todd Marcocci for taking concepts from an old Bugs Bunny "Rabbit of Saville" cartoon and visually weaving it together with Barber's music. Hats off as well to director Andrew Yozviak for writing a great music book and once again putting on a top-notch performance with the band members themselves as the majority of the teaching staff. I admire the fact that WCU's band has always been a "learning lab" for its music education students as well as a crowd-pleasing organization. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that, at 350+ members, the band's musical impacts are astounding! The video does not do justice to the impact of the first hit in "Adagio for Strings" when the band wheels from the backfield and lets you have it! I was in the press box at Hershey, which is a medium-high box, and it sounded and felt like I was standing on the track for just about any other band!

Posted by ★ Owner on November 19, 2010 at 8:09 AM 3251 Views

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