By Shari Perlstein
How do you make a winning team even better? Why, you increase the difficulty, of course. That is exactly what Mr. Stone and the other directors of the La Cañada High School Marching Spartans did this year.
“We’re focusing on the positives so we can raise ourselves to the level we know we can add more complicated layers to our show,” commented senior Lilliana Avaniss.
And more complicated it is. The show, titled Prayers and Mantras, is longer and musically harder than last year’s. It is seven and a half minutes long, while past shows were only about six and a half minutes long. A minute does not sound like that much longer, but to a performer, it makes a huge difference. For a minute longer, they must sprint around the football field and dance while controlling their breathing enough to play effectively with good intonation and volume.
Along with the show being longer, the music’s difficulty has increased. In the past, the show had a difficulty level of 3. Now, they are at a level 4. What this means is that their show features complex rhythms and dynamic ranges, all of which they must perform effectively while on the field. This is challenging because, when on the field, the members are very spread out, making it harder for them to listen to each other. Also, since sound travels at different times based on where they are placed on the field, they must time the notes properly so that it sounds like the band is playing all together. As they move farther from the 50 yard line, they must anticipate the notes more and play them even sooner.
“Everything is harder. My whole body hurts,” exclaimed Drum Major Justin Huynh
The demanding nature of the show paired with their success from last year, (second place in their division, fifth out of the top three divisions), has allowed them to participate in a new competition, Bands of America (BOA). BOA is a national competition in which bands compete against each other based on the size of their school, not their band. In the Western Band Association (WBA), bands would compete against each other based on the band’s size. So, in BOA, the Marching Spartans could be competing against bands half their size or almost double their size. They will still be competing in the WBA competitions, but they have added BOA to the line up.
Prayers and Mantras is a show centered around the culture of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. It combines the traditional sounds of the Himalayas with powerful and majestic visuals to create a captivating show that will leave you in awe. If you would like to see the Marching Spartans perform Prayers and Mantras, you can catch them at every home football game, or you could come to one of their competitions. The closest one is at Long Beach Community College at BOA on October 29th or WBA Super Show on November 12th.
By Shari Perlstein