In a nod to the changes that students go through as they learn to navigate the ups and downs and triumphs and tragedies of life, members of Marietta High School's "Wall of Sound" marching band will compete today at the Bands of America Grand National Championship in a performance program titled "Transformations."
The marching band is scheduled to perform at 1:15 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. If the band advances to semi finals and finals, members would also compete Saturday.
"It would be the same performance (on Saturday), except the adrenaline would be extremely high," said Marietta High School band director Ernie Cornell.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Marietta High School marching band students and staff prepare to load their gear onto a bus on campus Wednesday. The marching band is competing at the Bands of America Grand National Championship in Indianapolis beginning today.
"The performance is based around the concept of transforming from one point in your life to another," he said. "It's like a journey through life-where you begin, where you go through and where you finish."
The Transformations' performance will feature music from Swan Lake, the Firebird Suite and The Ascension.
The emotional aspect of the marching band's performance will also be key, said assistant band director Tim Pence.
At a glance
Who: Marietta High School "Wall of Sound" marching band.
What: One of more than 85 marching bands competing at Bands of America Grand Nationals Championship.
When: 1:15 p.m. today. (If band advances to semi finals and finals, would also compete Saturday.)
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
"It's all about selling the show...for the audience to understand what it is they're supposed to feel," Pence said.
Marching band students were feeling their own range of emotions as they prepared to board one of two Indianapolis bound buses Wednesday at Marietta High School.
"I am kind of hyped up, really excited," said Stella Bargeloh, 18, a drum major.
For marimba player Maddie Farrar, 17, the emotions are about her final marching band competition.
"I've got to do well because I don't have another chance," she said.
Liz Mason, 17, color guard member and snare drum player Michael Reese, 18, are old hands at competing. Mason is in her third Grand Nationals competition, and Reese is in his fourth.
"I know already that I'm gonna be nervous. I'm gonna focus that energy into doing really well," said Mason.
Reese said it helps to be familiar with the venue in Indianapolis.
"The sound lasts longer and echoes around. You get used to it," he said.
Dedication, time, talent and perseverance are required to get to a national championship, they said.
"They give up a lot of their summer" and practice a total of eight hours from Monday through Thursday, said Cornell.
Jeremy Reeder, 17, who plays tenors in the drum line, was in agreement.
"Between this, work and school the only time I go home is when I sleep," he said.
As students prepared to file to the waiting buses, Marietta High School principal William Lee led students and music department staff in a rousing version of a school fight song.
"When you go to Indianapolis tell them who you are and where you're from and do us proud," said Lee.
A total of 108 band members, staff and parents will attend the championships including 94 students in grades 7 to 12.