Hassan Sayed ’15
“Orange car lights flicker about…”
“…Crisp air fills lungs…”
“…Sweltering sweat drops fill their end…”
“…Incessant, bludgeoning ticks.”
Admittedly, the past three years have marked massive success for the St. Edward Marching Eagles, having achieved a rating of a “1” (or “Superior”) at every single competition in the 2013 season and at the OMEA Marching Band State Finals in 2011, 2012, and 2013. And as 2014, comes into view, the Marching Eagles hope to continue this tradition of excellence, for they are on the trajectory to be the first band in SEHS history to achieve a Superior at States for four consecutive years. In fact, they have already received Superior ratings at their first two competitions at Revere High School in Revere, OH and Perkins High School in Sandusky, OH.
This year’s competition show, entitled Structures, with music written by Performing Arts director Mr. Robert Burns and drill by band director Mr. Angelo Kortyka, certainly pushes the band members to their limits physically and musically, and, subsequently, opens up new possibilities for them to achieve that ultimate goal of receiving a “1.” But there is something more to be desired beyond achieving a rating. Because, in music, and certainly in marching band, there is no such thing as pure perfection. At a recent music rehearsal, for example, the entire ensemble had to reevaluate how it approached the music in regards to what it represented. For example, the emotions of the second movement, “Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris,” needed to be reflected in the dynamic inflections of the woodwinds. Important aspects of minimalist music needed to be emphasised in the third movement, “The Golden Gate Bridge.” And the victory and pride of the armies at the Great Wall of China had to be truly emphasized in the titular first movement.
There is always more to be done: the shaping of phrases and melodies; the development of powerful and moving dynamics; the refinement of tempos and rhythm; and the decomposition of a single marching step down to the angle of a marcher’s heel. There is no limit. Even with the greatest amount of micromanagement, there is more that can still be done.
The band then strives for something greater. Its members desire to perform to their limits, to engage their audience, to exceptionally express their music, and to develop a characteristic sound of their own.
They desire to redefine and reshape what they are as a group, and what they do. They must relearn music and charting positions again. And again. And again. Because their goal is beyond the skies. They only go as far as they can take themselves. And they will keep on marching.
To no end.