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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000207.txt from 1998/03

From: David H Eby <>
Subj: Re: MARCHING BAND - an explanation for non-Americans
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 08:09:06 -0500

Please, all of you who born and bred in America people, don't take this
too much to heart! It is the perception of a bi-cultural person who
spent the high school and college years in a foreign country and came
back to try to figure this aspect of our culture out. I thought it
might help the foreigners on the list.

A marching band is a uniquely American thing. In high school and
college the students that are playing a wind or percussion instrument
join the marching band and play outdoor between the first and second
half of a football game (not soccer, but close to rugby except that the
football players change teams when the ball changes teams! They have
separate offence and defense teams, so when the ball changes sides they
have to change teams! It takes a long time to watch that game...).

Anyway, football must be so boring that to keep the people entertained
they have to have marching band (musicians playing something while they
march in wool uniforms in summer) and cheerleaders (women in very few
clothes doing gymnastics and telling the fans what to yell for their

Marching bands also take part in parades and in marching band
competitions. They sometimes have a flag team (girls doing things with
flags) as well.

By the way, I was born in the US, raised in Argentina from the age of 8,
and only came to the United States when I was 29. I found these aspects
of American culture to be very puzzling.

It seems to me that if the music program were not so oriented towards
marching band there would be more emphasis on other instruments
(strings, for example) in the music program at schools. Maybe they
would have an orchestra instead of a band. Right now there are very few
schools that have orchestras.

Helen Eby

Roger Shilcock wrote:

> What is a marching band, and what is its place in American musical
> culture
> - if any??? I think some of us need to told, after deleting so many
> messages.
> Roger Shilcock
> On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, JohnnyWalt wrote:
> > Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 22:41:57 EST
> > From: JohnnyWalt <>
> > Reply-To:
> > To:
> > Subject: MARCHING BAND - THE END (hopefully)
> >
> > Can we end this topic? Please? You win! I am through arguing.
> > Whatever.....just make it stop.
> >
> >

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