Green Forest band pays tribute to Beethoven, Mozart

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The Green Forest Marching Band practices on Monday. The band has 62 members this year. This year’s show is titled ‘Decomposing’ and features works by Beethoven and Mozart.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

There will be gravestones on the field, but the Green Forest Marching Band will be as lively as ever this season.

Director Sarah Taylor said the band’s show this year is titled “Decomposers” and features the music of classical composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“The show puts kind of a spooky and creepy twist on the music of Beethoven and Mozart,” Taylor said. “This is our first year to delve into the electronic world a little bit and our first year to use props.”

She said assistant band director John Taylor’s father makes displays for commercial use and helped the band design lightweight props that they will be able to keep on the field.

“We’re looking forward to bringing those out,” she said. “We’re going to have 14 gravestones on the field.”

Some of the pieces featured in the show will be “Toccata and Fugue” and “Moonlight Sonata,” Taylor said.

“It’s all high-tempo and high-energy. The kids are going to be going 90 to nothing the whole time,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of soloists this year, and they’re amazing. I’m really excited about that.”

Taylor said the first song features four soloists: senior Ian Quinn on baritone and a trumpet trio composed of seniors Erick Ochoa and Elber Lopez and freshman Angel Lemus. The second song will feature a French horn solo by sophomore Sam Holtkamp, she said, and closes with another baritone solo by Quinn.

Senior Trinity Tegley, who is in the color guard, said the coolest part of working on the show each year is seeing how it all comes together at the end.

“We put so much time and effort into this. It’s going to be awesome to see how the band dynamics complement and contrast the color guard’s work,” she said. “It will be cool all the way around.”

It doesn’t hurt that the students get to walk like zombies for one set, she said.

“Who doesn’t like zombies?” Tegley said.

Senior Erick Ochoa, who plays trumpet, said the most challenging part of the new show is the second song because it features three-four time signature, meaning there are three beats per measure instead of the common four beats per measure.

“Not many freshmen know how to march that,” Ochoa said. “Most of them learn that you always start marching with your left foot, but in three-four you march left, right, left for the first measure and then right, left, right for the next measure.”

Junior Elisha Piatt, who plays clarinet, said she is excited to have more people in the band this year.

“Since we have more people in the band we have a better chance of winning more trophies this year at competition,” she said.

Senior drum major Max Holtkamp agreed, saying the band has grown so much since his freshman year. He started in a band of about 30 students, he said, and the band has doubled in size over the last few years.

“This is the largest it’s ever been. We’re getting more chances to go to different places and do different things because of our band’s size,” Holtkamp said. “The show has been a bit more intricate music-wise. There have been a lot more intricate parts to the songs. It’s been a little difficult trying to teach some of these to incoming students, but it will be worth it.”

Taylor said the band was able to pick a show that used more percussion this year because of the increased number of student percussionists.

“This is the first year we have this many percussionists,” she said. “We’re up to 62 kids in band and 17 percussionists this year. We’re excited about that. We also increased the difficulty level of the show, which I think the kids are excited about.”

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