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Neighbors strikes up the bands

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Friday, August 31, 2012

I can’t read music. I can’t carry a tune. I can’t play an instrument. In fact, I’m pretty certain there is not a musical bone in my body.

Even in church if I sing, I try not to be loud enough that I violate someone’s eardrums. Sometimes, for the safety of others, I just mouth the words. Trust me, it’s just better for everyone if I do my best Milli Vanilli impression and lip-synch. The Bible says to “make a joyful noise to the Lord.” I’m pretty sure God’s not talking about me.

As a non-musician all my life, I was never in the high school choir or band. Many of my friends were, however. One of my best friends from high school played the flute in our school’s symphonic band and at her church. She was also in the marching band during football season.

She traveled with the band when it played in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena in 1990. And, like many high school bands in the Valley, they performed at various band nights, parades and competitions.

Band, especially, marching band, is very popular. Each fall, it is as much a part of the Friday night football experience as the game. I know many people who go to the games specifically to watch the halftime band show. Some schools, like Boardman and Fitch, have huge marching bands. The Spartans are known for their entertaining style, complete with costumes and drama. The Fitch band has the look of a military band, including a color guard and rifle line.

Music runs deep in Canfield, as well, with nine student bands between the high school and middle school. Band members are very active in the community, playing in parades, shows, sponsoring fundraisers and more. The Poland band program offers many of the same musical opportunities for students. The marching band can be seen this fall playing on Friday nights, parades, band nights and competitions.

Neighbors salutes all the area’s bands — from the tuba players to the percussion sections to the flag line. This is the time of year when you showcase your talents.

As a way to put the spotlight on this season’s marching bands, we will be recognizing a senior band member each week in Neighbors — starting this week in the Poland edition and hopefully next week in the other three towns. The feature will include a photo and a short Q&A with a senior band member, who will be selected by the school’s band director.

We won’t have the time or space to recognize every senior marching band member, but we’ll feature as many as we can. I hope you enjoy learning a little about some of your community’s top musicians.


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