The Elkhart (Indiana) Memorial High School Crimson Charger Marching Band has incorporated five vocalists from the school choir into their 2014 field show program, “Colores.”
“We strive to be not only competitive, but entertaining,” band director Kurt Weimer told the Elkhart Truth newspaper. “I think bringing something new to the audience, if it’s done well, can be very entertaining. Programs like Cirque Du Soleil, Blast and Riverdance have been combining music, choreography and theater in one show for many years, and that’s the direction that marching band has been headed.”
Five top students from the choir program were chosen to sing what the choir director called very challenging, college-level music. They rehearse and compete with the marching band. At first they were somewhat apprehensive about joining the band, but have come to love the atmosphere.
From the Elkhart Truth:
Hayden Ludlow, a senior, said he hesitated to get involved at first because marching band is known for intense practices.
But after the first band competition, he was hooked.
“That’s when I realized, wow, this is actually a lot of fun,” he said. “I get why band people love marching band so much. There’s just this really exciting atmosphere.”
The choir students were surprised at first by the boisterous crowds at marching band contests — a stark contrast to the more subdued applause they get at choir concerts, they said — but by this point in the season, they’ve grown to love marching band fever.
“Band people are awesome,” student Brenna Williams said. “When you are walking out, the awesome band moms are screaming the school’s name and cheering. It’s a really good feeling. I love that people are coming to watch us. And we are just five voices in this huge band, so it’s great.”
This video from the band’s parent preview night shows the singers in action.
What do you think of this innovation? Has your band ever tried something like this? Do you agree with Weimer that this is where bands are headed?