Skip to main content

The City Journals

Bingham High Marching Band Stepping Up For Fall Season

Sep 14, 2015 03:10PM ● By Bryan Scott

Marching band has been a part of Bingham High School since the 1940s. This year’s season kicks off with the Aug. 28 home football game. Photo courtesy of Bingham High School

By Julie Slama

The traditional marching band performing in geometrical designs at a pre-game or half-time show at the school football game, maybe adding in a parade or two, are relics of a bygone era, said Bingham High director of bands and percussion Darin Graber.

“It’s much more competitive, with a production that needs a storyline, original composition and special choreography,” he said. “With the influence of Drum Corps International, it has pushed the envelope for marching bands, which in translation for high schools, evolved to higher expectations and standards.”

Graber said preparation for marching band began Monday after school was out on Friday, June 5.

“Summer break was essentially a weekend. During the summer, we have our students learning music, practicing in sectionals, practicing marching and then coming together as an ensemble,” he said.

Bingham High’s marching band, which is expected to have 125 members this fall, joined four other Jordan School District marching bands to create a district band of 300 10th through 12th graders who marched in the Days of ‘47 Parade.

“We prepared separately, then for four days together. It was a great experience. Traditionally, we haven’t marched in the summer, but creating a district band opens new parade venues for all of us,” he said.

Between Aug. 5 and Aug. 18, the band began their two-week camp, each week day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to rehearse their shows and practice pep band music for playing in the football stands.

“We need to practice since we’ll only have three days of school before we’re to perform at the first home football game,” he said.

At the Friday, Aug. 28 football game and other home games, the marching band performs both a pre-game and half-time show, plays in the stands, then holds an after-game concert.

Their competition half-time show, “Nine Dead Men Tell No Tales,” is the story is about a double-crossing of the first officer taking the pirate ship captain’s treasure. 

“It’s a pirate extravaganza that is filled with pirates, murder, mayhem, islands, sabers, palm trees and fun,” Graber said.

This show will be their competition piece they will perform at upcoming contests, beginning Sept. 22 at Weber State University. It is followed by the Oct. 3 Wasatch Front invitational; Oct. 10 Bridgerland competition; Oct. 13-17 at the Western Band Association’s competition in Southern California; Oct. 20 at Davis High School; Oct. 24 at Mt. Timpanogos invitational; Oct. 30 Red Rock State Championship and Oct. 31 Super Regional Bands of America in St. George.

A presentation of the school marching band as well as others in the area will be held at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Bingham High School. The free performances are open to the public.

The marching band finished third in the 5A competition last year and was a finalist in the Bands of America competition. 

Graber said that students learn more than reading music and marching in step.

“They are learning life skills, such as critical thinking, teamwork, cooperation, time management, organization, decision-making. They are boosting their self-confidence and being responsible for their part and to the band. It’s part of the commitment they make,” he said.

Since the 1940s, Bingham’s marching band has performed for school and community events.

“We’ve played a significant role in the school as we’re one of the more visible groups in the public eye. People enjoy the music and hard work that goes into being in marching band. It brings about a spirit that is embraced by the community,” he said.

The marching band and concert band seasons overlap as the first fall concert for the wind symphony, intermediate concert band and two percussion ensembles will be held in the school auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The jazz percussion concert is a week later on Wednesday, Nov. 4. About 170 students take part in one or more of these instrumental groups.