The Band Dad

Brass section of a band playing for band dads

How to be a good band dad.

By Mark Harris

It is August, and the beginning of school is around the corner. For those with children in high school, and specifically those whose kids play music, school starts early in the form of marching band camp. Many marching band dads were band players themselves back in the day, but I was not. So, when child 2,3,4 and 5 in my family wanted to join the band, I was in for a shock.

Lessons for a Band Dad

At first, since I knew nothing about bands, I kept them at arm’s length. But year by year I did more and learned more. Here are some band lessons learned since I started this gig in 2010.

Continue reading “The Band Dad”

Message Bearing Marching Bands

High school marching band shows reflect our priorities and our insanities. How can they help make us better?

By Mark D. Harris

Ours is a marching band family – four of our five children have been in marching bands at the high school and/or college level.  The other one was in the orchestra. Our kids have been at Hayfield and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High Schools in northern Virginia, Collierville High School in Tennessee, Shady Spring High School in West Virginia, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. We have enjoyed parades, pep bands, and shows at football halftimes and band competitions. Dance teams, color guards, drum majors, and lines of marching and playing students entertain us every week in every autumn.   

High school marching band shows have themes, ranging from the musical (the Music of Queen), the cinematic (Illusion, including Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), and the historical (the Transcontinental Railway). Bands compete before judges, who score them on such measures as musicality, marching/dance, visuals, guard, pit, and drumline. At the end of every competition, the band with the highest score in their division wins a trophy. But what do judges find worthy of acclaim? Continue reading “Message Bearing Marching Bands”