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'Band-O-Rama' to lighten mood amidst political contention of upcoming election

By Laura Kaye, Daily Arts Writer
Published November 2, 2012

Elections are impending, bringing with them further conflict within Congress, between candidates and among voters.

Band-O-Rama: The American Salute


Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Hill Auditorium
From $5

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But instead of heated political discourse, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance wants to bring the University together to experience “Band-O-Rama: The American Salute” with the hopes of bridging, through music, the gap this election has produced.

The marching band, concert band and symphony band are congregating at Hill Auditorium for this annual production. This is the only time during the year these three bands join for a united concert, featuring songs from their seasons with patriotic aims.

The concert band will play “The March” by John Williams, from the movie “1941,” which depicts Pearl Harbor during the beginning of WWII. The band will also present a work by Frank Picheli, a well-known composer of band music. The symphony band will then take the stage with music including the well-known favorite, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The marching band’s repertoire is distinctive, with selections including “Boogey Woogie Bugle Boy,” a popular piece during the ’40s, as well as some Gershwin favorites like “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

The band will also include Michigan traditional pieces such as “Hail to the Victors” and “Lets Go Blue.”

“We are not only the support of the football team,” LSA junior and marching band member Jessica Pacholski said. “But we lead the audience to want to support the football team. It’s the same way in ‘Band-O-Rama.’ We get everyone riled up and excited for the show, and this registers to the audience.”

Director of Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands Scott Boerma explained that members of the concert and symphony bands — who are mostly music majors — are looking to create an artistic experience for the audience, showcasing a musical repertoire of the highest caliber and honing their performance skills in the process.

In the Big House, the band has to be big, boisterous and entertaining. Therefore, the band has to tone down its volume, but not excitement, to accommodate the smaller space. The environment may be different, but the practice strategy remains the same: articulation of notes, playing in tune, matching tone qualities and playing as a group.

“At Hill, you are looking for the highest degree of subtleties and nuances and musical phrasing, and it’s all about the craft of music making,” Boerma said. “Art is often entertaining but art is often intellectual. At the stadium, the audience doesn’t necessarily want an intellectual experience but wants a fun exciting Michigan football experience.”

Even though the performance is separated by the distinct music of the three bands, the American theme encourages cohesion among all the players.

“The ‘Band-o-Rama’ concert is kind of a greatest hits of the fall performance for all of these bands,” Boerma said. “We took pieces that highlight our season with a theme that ties the ensembles together. This year it is patriotic music or music by American composers. You can see it as a night to put aside our differences and just be proud to be Americans.”

The marching band plans to conclude the show by marching on stage to energize the audience.

“I want them leaving tapping their toes,” Boerma said. “And if they’re whistling the last tune we play which is probably going to be ‘The Victors,’ then we have achieved our purpose.”