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From Issue #8 January 17, 2013

The Ties That Band

A marching band switches its policy on glowing screens to keep it moving to the right beat.

By Nathan Barham Twitter icon 

Toby is struggling. In rehearsal after rehearsal, Toby can’t seem to pull it together. He’s not keeping his toes up, not keeping his back straight, not playing the right notes. It seems like a lot to remember, but he will have to achieve it all in order to march in the [Pride of Clarkston Marching Band and Color Guard][1].

The staff takes turns following him from set to set, helping him count as he tries to play the music from memory; there are no music stands attached to instruments in a competition band. His shoulders slump, his instrument bell dips to one side.

Toby’s my project. There are always a few. As assistant director of the marching band, I need to help Toby (a composite of many students I’ve worked with) and all 70-some other marchers break through their difficulties.

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