MICHELLE T. BERNARD
The West Lincoln Marching Rebels may be small, with just 68 members, but they’re mighty. After performing their 2017 field show, entitled “On the 8th Day….,” at the recent Fred T. Foard Band Classic competition, they not only walked away as Grand Champions of their class but they also made a clean sweep, winning first place in every single award category for their class.
“The show is a tribute to all farmers everywhere and the hard work that they put into making our everyday life something special,” West Lincoln band director Taylor Brown said. “It’s our hope that with our 2017 show we can honor an occupation that for so many years has been underestimated for its value to our country.”
It’s a long process from the conception of a field show to actual competition and for Brown it began in May. A field show begins either with a concept and then the search for appropriate music or it begins with the music that the show is built around. For Brown, it was the music of Aaron Copland that was decided upon first.
“As a band director I just listened to it on repeat over and over and tried to figure out what I saw in my mind almost like painting a picture,” he said. “What does this music say? What kind of scenes are setting up? The whole idea is to bring to the audio some sort of visual representation on the field.”
Copland has an Americana-style of composition and his music has a western or country flair to it, according to Brown.
“I was listening to it on a run one morning as the sun was rising,” he said. “It reminded me of a morning on a farm and that’s where the idea sparked.”
Once Brown had the vision in mind, he started working with his design staff to flush out the general concept of farming. The Super Bowl XLVII commercial that featured photographs of rural America and the narration of radio broadcaster Paul Harvey played a big part in the development and led to the title. The same voiceovers used in that commercial are also used in the field show to explain what’s going on.
To complete the theme, the band uniforms were adapted to look like a farmer’s normal attire. Props were added which include 15 boxes that look like hay bales, six white picket fences and a farm house porch backdrop. The actual band practice for the field show began the end of July and the show is continually perfected and added to throughout the marching band season.
“These kids are so dedicated to this,” Brown said. “They spend so many hours on this show throughout the week and they still have the heart and dedication to continue to change things and make it better. To these kids, this is what high school is about – its everything that they live for and to 99 percent of them it’s the most important thing that goes on during the fall season.”
At their last competition held on Saturday at North Davidson High School, Brown made the decision to jump the band up from class 2A to class 5A where they competed against bands twice their size. They won first place in the class, second place drum major, second place color guard, first place music, first place marching and maneuvering and second place general effect.
Given that they are from the western side of the county, many of the band members have families who still farm, according to Brown. When he first revealed the theme of the show they were a bit apprehensive because they were afraid of being looked down on or made fun of.
“The whole purpose of doing this show was to show the whole county and anyone watching us in the audience how proud we are of where we come from and what we do,” he said. “I think we’ve accomplished that. I knew that the kids would be nervous about it but I wasn’t nervous because I knew the kids would do a good job with it. I had a very clear vision and I knew that this community would get on board. I also knew that the kids would do a really sophisticated and tasteful job of performing the show. I think that it’s given West Lincoln a better name for who we are and the kids a sense of pride from where they come from.”