Stu’s ul­ti­mate March­ing Round Up

Stu Warm­ing­ton con­cludes his look at march­ing bands around the world

Rhythm - - BEAT! -

Here we are at the fi­nal march­ing ar­ti­cle! The jour­ney over the past 12 months has taken us from the UK to USA, Switzer­land, Canada, Fin­land, Swe­den, Sin­ga­pore and The Nether­lands.

I’d like to thank the fol­low­ing drum­mers for their con­tri­bu­tions: Russ Piner, Mark Reilly, Haz­izi Jaa­far, Pa­trick Stalder, Jeff Blanke­spoor, Scott John­son, Jim Kil­patrick MBE, Nathan McLaren, Lukas Hirt, Tomi Kaup­pila and David Lind­berg, with­out whom none of this would have been pos­si­ble. Thank you, gen­tle­men. So, as I round things up I’ve de­cided to cover a few other bands and or­gan­i­sa­tions that I am in­volved with but couldn’t squeeze into the pre­vi­ous pub­li­ca­tions. First off is the Lib­erty High School Gre­nadier Band. The band is based in Beth­le­hem, Penn­syl­va­nia USA. I’ve been their Per­cus­sion Ad­vi­sor since 2014. They are styled on the Bri­tish Foot Guards and wear the same scar­let tu­nics and bearskins as the Coldstream Guards. Num­bers in the band vary year to year but they can be any­thing from 260-300. They also take their drill move­ments from the Bri­tish Army but still man­age to per­form the com­plex half-time shows you’d ex­pect at any Amer­i­can Foot­ball game. The Lib­erty High School Gre­nadier Band was founded in 1926 and has per­formed in count­less pa­rades and at spe­cial events in­clud­ing Harry Tru­man’s In­au­gu­ral Pa­rade, Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rades, Pasadena Rose Pa­rade, Miss Amer­ica Pa­rade and the 65th and 70th an­niver­saries of the Pearl Har­bor bomb­ing. The band pro­duced a doc­u­men­tary in col­lab­o­ra­tion with TV Chan­nel PBS 39 about the his­tory of the Lib­erty High School Gre­nadier Band which won an Emmy Award. One fa­mous drum­mer who at­tended the school and was also part of the Gre­nadier Band was Jimmy DeGrasso, who has played with Ozzy Os­bourne, Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies, Black Star Rid­ers, Alice Cooper and Me­gadeth.

TYMBA (Tra­di­tional Youth March­ing Band As­so­ci­a­tion) was set up to cater for bands who did not gain from be­ing mem­bers of other or­gan­i­sa­tions which sup­port the more ‘show band’ style of march­ing bands. The as­so­ci­a­tion aims to of­fer dif­fer­ent train­ing and de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for its mem­bers and also has a com­pe­ti­tion league sys­tem in which most of the mem­ber­ship par­tic­i­pate. There are many con­tests through­out the year which con­trib­ute to the league, which all cul­mi­nate in the Na­tional Cham­pi­onships,

which is al­ways the jewel in the As­so­ci­a­tion’s crown and a great day for com­pe­ti­tion. Away from the arena, TYMBA runs an an­nu­alSolo Mu­si­cian com­pe­ti­tion where more than 100 of our young play­ers com­pete across al­most all in­stru­ments.

As Pres­i­dent of TYMBA it’s my aim not only to make sure the or­gan­i­sa­tion stays on track but also keep the tra­di­tional youth bands of to­day en­gaged in the as­so­ci­a­tion to stop it from dy­ing off. More re­cently, TYMBA has fo­cused more on ed­u­ca­tion in mu­sic as this has started to de­cline in schools, so its’ now down to youth bands to give as much di­rec­tion as pos­si­ble. In the past they’ve at­tended mas­ter­classes, wit­nessed dis­plays and pro­fes­sional clin­i­cians and gone on field trips to pro­fes­sional mil­i­tary bands’ lo­ca­tions to see how they do it, as well as get­ting free tick­ets to see some of the UK’s best bands per­form­ing at top venues in Lon­don.

Another area I’m in­volved with is North­ern Ire­land. There are over 700 march­ing bands in North­ern Ire­land which is pretty in­cred­i­ble when you look at the size of the coun­try. I teach the drum­mers in a band that styles its look on the Royal Marines Band Ser­vice. From a dis­tance, they could eas­ily be mis­taken for mem­bers of the Royal Marines Band. It’s not un­til you get up close you start to see the dif­fer­ences such as a dif­fer­ent drum em­bla­zon as well as slight changes to the tu­nic. I’ve worked with these guys for the past 18 months in­cor­po­rat­ing Royal Marines stick­work pat­terns as well as a struc­tured prac­tice regime, and the stan­dard they have risen to is amaz­ing. It just goes to show that pas­sion can achieve any­thing.

So, as I bring this fi­nal ar­ti­cle to a close I’d like to thank the guys at Rhythm for giv­ing me a chance not only to bring some­thing new to the read­ers of this fan­tas­tic magazine but hope­fully it’s now brought some mem­bers of the march­ing world to the mag, and hope­fully this cross-over of dif­fer­ent drum­ming worlds was worth the has­sle to the Edi­tor who was con­stantly email­ing me say­ing, “We’re on dead­line so I need this to­day!” Sorry Chris! Thank you to the read­ers who have read my ar­ti­cles and I hope you found them in­for­ma­tive and rel­e­vant. So, un­til next time, take care..

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Stu pic­tured with the drum­mers from the Lib­erty High School Gre­nadier Band

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