The article “Direct From … Fairfax High School” (Halftime Magazine Nov/Dec 2007), an interview with Raymundo Vizcarra, the band director of the school, has much information on the difficulties of starting a new ensemble as well as information on how to start such a group. As a student at Eastern Connecticut State University, I am facing a similar challenge of starting a new group. The school currently has no marching ensembles, so I’ve been trying to get the idea out there to start a drum line. If the school purchases the drums, other things could be done, such as an indoor percussion ensemble.
Benefits for the School
I love performing and would like to share that with my college. There is currently no live music at sporting events or pep rallies. I feel that the school should showcase the instrumentalists more, or, for what I’m trying to push ahead, allow for a new group entirely for performances at these events. Eastern already has numerous dance teams that perform at the pep rallies; why not have a drum line? There is no pep band for basketball, rugby, etc. either. Again, why not include some drums for some more excitement? Live music performance takes the energy level of sports to a whole new level.
I also feel that the drum line would generate a lot of publicity for my school. In the surrounding community, there are multiple events, including a 4th of July parade, that the campus already participates in. What better way to showcase the school with a drum line? Maybe even go as far as a marching band? It really gets the school in the public view.
Valuable Skills for Students
My school is a liberal arts college. It aims to make students well-rounded individuals with special skills to make us more marketable in the workplace. In the New York Times Comment of the Week, Doug Hall stated, “Although I am an analytical engineer, the most valuable class I took in 19 years of formal education was marching band. Marching band teaches teamwork, time management, performing under pressure, mistake recovery, mental toughness, dealing with difficult people. Professors don’t teach those subjects in class, but they are the skills that are most valued in just about every profession.”
Having been a member of marching band throughout high school, I can agree with this comment 100 percent. This is exactly what a liberal arts college would like to see in their students. The addition of a marching program would look very good toward Eastern’s pursuit of these goals.
Vizcarra states in the Halftime Magazine article, “This school was so empty and so quiet for so many years, and now we have something to show off.”
This is exactly how I want Eastern to feel. If they allow for the purchase of marching drums, they’ll realize this feeling once there is a pep band playing at the school’s games. Hopefully with persistence and support, I can make this happen at Eastern like Vizcarra did at Fairfax.