Band adds dance moves, props and choir to field show

September 12, 2017 — by Chelsea Leung

With the start of the fall season, the marching band and Color Guard are working hard to perfect their show, formations and music, while adding two new additions: professional-level props and the choir as a main element .  

The theme of this year’s show is “Find Your Voice,” which has many different facets, such as standing up for oneself and finding one’s identity.

“‘Find Your Voice’ is about self-discovery, growing as a person and gaining confidence,” junior trumpet player Matthew Graham said.

The theme is portrayed through players’ dancing at the beginning, when they incorporate body rolls and hand gestures into their usual movement in formations.  

A new twist this year is that the band will be using purchased staircase props from the Blue Devils, a world-class marching ensemble based in Concord. In addition, Blue Devils members as well as the group’s visual head, Todd Ryan, are helping out at band rehearsals.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have these props, especially with the Blue Devils having just won their 18th world championship,” Graham said. “We’re also glad to have Blue Devils members helping us out, as they know these props inside out.”

According to associate band director Jason Shiuan, the “beautifully made” props are 4- to 5-feet wide staircases with railings that can be easily moved and organized into visual configurations that will add to the visual aesthetic of the show.

What’s also new is that 55 members from both concert and chamber choirs will be joining the field show, and the props will be put together to create a choir riser, as well as break apart for marchers to pose and travel up and down.

They will be playing the choral music pieces “Fly to Paradise” by Eric Whitacre and “Gloria” by John Rutter, leading to the decision to include choir.

“We want choir to be the epicenter of the show,” Shiuan said. “The first time you see them is when they sing the big climax of the second movement, and they become the flow for the rest of the show.”

Although the addition of choir to the band show was a surprise for both band and choir members, the singers see this new challenge as an enriching experience.

“It’s nice that we’re doing this after the Europe tour because the choir has had a chance to become friends with a lot of people in band and to see how band works,” junior choir member Nirav Adunuthula said. “It’s going to be fun.”

Choir now attends almost every band practice, which take place during eighth period on Blue Days, Thursday nights and all day Saturday.

The band will be attending four competitions every Saturday in October: the Festa Del Mar at Del Mar High, Cupertino Tournament of Bands at Cupertino High, the Sierra Cup Classic at Fresno State and the Bands of America NorCal Regionals at San Jose State.

“As usual, we want to build community and produce a show that the students are proud of and excited for,” Shiuan said.


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