“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Parade Critic weighs in
Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last night, the annual Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade winded its way through downtown Fort Myers, my hometown, to celebrate the inventor who called this town home for many winters of his life. It is indeed a grand parade in the old style, with a plethora of floats, clowns, immense helium balloons and marching bands. Few cities put on parades like this anymore; it almost feels like a blast from the past.

But a word about the marching bands. I don't like what's happened to marching bands over the years. They're no longer marching bands; they're DANCING bands! ... strutting here and there and jiggling their everything and yelping out loud in chants. Indeed, African-American culture has influenced much of mainstream pop culture in this country, everything from language to music to fashion (those baggy pants that appear to be falling off waists). And I think that's all fine and good ... but not in a marching band. Marching bands should represent ORDER. This is a MILITARY tradition, thank you very much. No dancing. Players should be looking straight ahead with straight faces, horns held at perfect 90-degree angle. The Fort Myers High School band was the only band that looked traditional in this way....and kudos to them. The beauty of a marching band is its clean lines, its order, its ability to make a 100-plus group of people seem as one.

Save the dancing for the pom-pom girls, please.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah-Oh ! sounds like SOMEBODY didnt get their share of kettle corn,funnel cake and a few beers to wash it down with !

February 22, 2009 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vince Noble here. I have been involved with marching band as a performer, teacher and designer since the late 1970's. You are SO right. There are a few bands from Historically Black Universities that do the dance band style well. I too was at the parade and seeing a bunch of middle class white kids trying to shuck and jive, and doing so poorly was, at best, uncomfortable. Please do not take this as an attack directed towards the kids. Most of these bands do this stuff because, usually, their directors don't have the talent or commitment to teach the kids how to make good sounds and move well. They call it entertainment and fun ... it's actually just an excuse for laziness, poor training and a lack of dedication to the craft. I'm glad that I wasn't the only person who noticed.

February 22, 2009 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

Vince: Wow ... it's as if I wrote your comments for you. We think and talk very much alike.

February 23, 2009 at 5:48 AM  

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