Marching Band Goes to Pittsburgh

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“One band, one sound!”  This recognizable quote is from the popular 2002 marching band movie “Drumline” staring Nick Cannon.  The movie itself is based off of the unique marching band style that is highly regarded in the South, specifically at Florida A&M University. 

The traditional show style of marching band, incorporating unique high-stepping, fun dance rhythms, and exciting music selections was originally born at Florida A&M University.  Over the years, many additional colleges in the South incorporated these ideas and techniques into their marching bands, making marching band more than just the support for the football team, but rather a sport in itself. 

Since its origin, this style of marching can now be found in high-stakes competitions such as the Big Southern Classic and the Bayou Classic.  “These competitions, which draw audiences of roughly 60,000 fans each, are a testament to the popularity of the sport,” said the DRUMLine Live program on the history of the unique art form. 

It was the intense popularity of the movie, especially among marching band students, which sprouted DRUMLine Live in a 70-performance international tour in 2008-2009.  After the great success of its first tour, the group of talented and energetic musicians prepared for the second U.S. tour of DRUMLine Live for the 2010-2011 touring season. 

So when Greater Latrobe Marching Band member Jocelyn Stas discovered that DRUMLine Live was coming to The Benedum Center in Pittsburgh on February 15, she thought it would be a beneficial experience for members of our marching band. 

“I first saw an advertisement for the show when I went to “Mary Poppins” and I thought, this would be really cool to see as a band because we all love the movie “Drumline,” so I thought it would be really cool to see it live,” said Stas. 

While it wasn’t exactly like the movie, the band students still felt that is was a worthwhile experience.  Junior Jimmy Zimmerman said, “I would have to say my favorite part of the show was whenever they were doing all of the drum battles back and forth with all of the fancy playing.” 

Divided into two different acts, the performers played music from many different eras including African music, jazz, soul, gospel, Michael Jackson hits, and intense drum numbers.  “There were so many cool special effects and different styles of music that you really don’t usually get in one show.  It took you through many different generations of music,” said Stas.    

The performers themselves were breathtakingly amazing throughout the entire show.  At one point, a group of snare drummers entered the darkened stage dressed only in black.  But they then turned on their suits which were covered in lights, creating the allusion that they were stick figures drumming on glowing snares.  Watching the stick figure men was greatly entertaining for everyone in the audience, especially with them drumming along with popular hit songs from our own era such as “OMG” by Usher and “Baby” by Justin Bieber.  

Overall, everyone who went felt it was a fantastic performance that featured vastly talented performers.  Sophomore Katie Brinker said she recommends the show “it’s fun, entertaining, and definitely worth the money.”