Photo courtesy of the Gibson County High School Band
As the nation commemorated the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, high school marching bands were among those leading the displays of patriotism. From a thematic field show to a mass band concert, these special performances were meaningful for performers and audience members.
The Gibson County High School Marching Band from Dyer, Tenn., is dedicating its entire fall marching season to the victims and survivors of the terror attacks. The band’s show titled “Never Forget” includes music such as “New York, New York” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The show incorporates audio clips and sound effects to take viewers through what band director Jeremy Tate says will be an emotional, yet inspiring, story.
“At one point, the band will play behind a 40-foot wide screen featuring an image of the New York skyline,” Tate says. “During the closer, the guard will be dressed entirely in white, and the field will be lined with U.S. flags.”
Senior band members were only in second grade at the time of the attacks, yet they were old enough to sense the emotion of the day. “Our show reminds me of the hardship our country has been through and has overcome,” says clarinet player Audrey Todd. “I feel I owe something to the brave people of that day. This is our way of honoring and paying tribute to them.”
In New York, marching bands from 17 states and The Netherlands will perform at “The Band of Pride Tribute,” a mass band rally in New York City’s Times Square on Nov. 10. The bands will also march in the NYC Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11. Executive director Melinda Marinoff says the concert will include a variety of patriotic music plus a grand finale tribute to New York. The mass band will be conducted by Dr. Kenneth Dye, director of bands at the University of Notre Dame.
And in the drum corps world, the Madison Scouts performed a show titled “New York Morning” and received a special artifact from the World Trade Center in recognition of its production. “The members of the 2011 Madison Scouts were given a very special show to perform, and night after night they delivered it with incredible emotion and respect,” said Chris Komnick, Scouts executive director, in a press release. “It clearly had impact on many who experienced those performances, especially our fans on the East Coast.”