It all started at South High in Columbus, Ohio. I played in the marching band for three years. It was the only thing that helped me “like” high school. I played the flute for ten years, piano for ten years, Viola for 7 and anything else I could make music on. That included the timpani, percussion, drums, keyboard, guitar, bells, and xylophone. I grew up around music. My uncle Nate Fitzgerald was my greatest influence. He would come back from being on tour with the greats: The Temptation, Gladys Knight (And the Pips), Albert King, Cuba Gooding Sr., and Chaka Khan to name a few. I still write and produce music. (Second CD coming out soon!). I have passed on the love of music to me to kids.
Last night watching Ricky Smiley on BET joke about the marching band brought back humorous memories and joy. The marching bands were a cliché that you had to be in understood. I played in the orchestra, all city orchestra symphony, all city symphony, concert band, and jazz band. But there is nothing like the sound of a good marching band. Our director was a graduate from Ohio State University (Mr. Rogers), so we imitated there routine all the time. Barry Manilow was always being performed!
We did a routine to Shaft once, but a majorette hair caught fire during the light show (too much hairspray on a black child!). But when the director let us have our way…… we funked it up in the stand to the drums! Our Cheerleaders would put out their cigarettes, hand someone their baby, and join in! ( just joking…) We made our own music that came from funk during the 70’s and 80’s. We were black and proud. In our school whether you were white or black…. we all had funk in us! The marching band made the horrible years of high school somewhat livable. I do still love the sound of a good marching band!
The movie Drumlin showcases the complex interaction of the marching band. I hope there is movies some day that pick up where Nick Cannon left off and tell more of the story. A company created a video game BCFX to capture the black football and marching band experience on PS3 and XBOX The game experience is pretty real can’t wait to play it soon!
Living in Maryland now we are surrounded by many HBCU. There are classics going on every week in the area. My favorite is the battle of the bands at Morgan. We are colorful people! The marching band is just example of the unique flare for dance and style in the black community. From the days of the band sound in New Orleans in the 1900’s, we have evolved the marching band into a cultural icon.
The best part of the football game outside the last 5 minutes to a touchdown for me is the exciting performance of the black marching band! Check out some of the videos that showcase the sound and beauty of the black marching band. It may become your guilty pleasure too! Love the Drumline!!!