A smooth, rich saxophone solo resonates as a steady jazz rhythm begins to build. The bright melody of a trumpet chimes in as the deep, full sound of a tuba adds on. The performers are completely in sync, as if programmed to play perfectly in tune with one another. Syncopated beats and accented notes create a light, carefree mood that only the magic of jazz music can do. This entertainment takes place not at a coffee house or concert venue… but on a high school marching band field.
|Anneka DeCaro, junior, is featured as the saxophone soloist in the band show.|
On October 13, the Lake Travis Marching Band will compete at the Westlake Marching Festival. This will be the band’s first time competing at the 5A level, since Lake Travis High School’s classification changed from 4A to 5A this year. They will compete against 13 other bands in the 5A category, including Hendrickson, Vista Ridge, and Round Rock.
|Percussion director Lance Brightwell gives the front ensemble instruction|
The Lake Travis band’s show, titled “The Lady in Red”, is a vivacious yet passionate jazz show that consists of songs by Bernard Herrmann and Adam Gorb from various Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Band members and directors alike look forward to standing out from the other bands at the competition in a few days. From the vibrancy of an electric cello solo to the captivating, graceful movements of a dancing cymbal line, the show is anything but traditional. Percussion director, Lance Brightwell, has faith that the unique show will both entertain and impress the judges.
“I think the pacing of [the show] and overall evolution of beginning to end is fun to watch and doesn’t get flat,” said Brightwell. “It’s a cool variety, and I like it because it’s different and has our Lake Travis identity to it: fun, but not over-the-top and cheesy.”
|Assistant band director Steven Hopkins leads the|
band practice from a 40-foot tower.
The three acts, with their differing melodies and powerful visuals, tell a story that characterizes some of the Lady in Red’s traits.
Assistant band director, Steven Hopkins, explained the deeper meaning behind each song.
“The first act, 'Away Day', starts out really sultry jazz and skin deep. It’s light and playful with little hints of aggression. [The second act], 'Vertigo', shows her seductive, two-faced side, which turns into a sinister and fast-paced song that gives [the show] a chase scene feel,” Hopkins expounded.
|Assistant drum major Melanie Nichols confidently conducts.|
At Westlake next week, Lake Travis will be one of the smallest 5A bands on the field. LT band members are most concerned about creating an equal sound and as great of a visual effect as the larger bands. Although some may call the band’s smaller size a disadvantage at competition, co-head drum major, Quinn Wallace, believes it to be an advantage in the fact that they can be cleaner and have a more focused sound than some of the bigger bands. She feels there is no reason to be intimidated by the other 5A bands.
Band director, Kenneth Vise, holds that the biggest challenge for the band is not based its size, but the mechanics of the actual music in the show.
“I think the biggest challenge is transcending the technical difficulty of the show and turning this into art,” Vise said.
Vise has complete confidence that band will succeed at competition next week. Scores and judges aside, the band really has one goal in mind.
“We want to entertain,” Vise said. “We want to move people. We want to be remembered as that band. We want people talking about the show, and we want people to notice we are different than other bands.”
|Band director Kenneth Vise leads a woodwind warmup, as he motions for a crescendo with his arms.|
|The tubas stand at attention position waiting for instruction, not taking their eyes off of the drum major.|
|The full Lake Travis band stands at attention position, as they form one of the most powerful|
sets of the show.
|Assistant percussion director Derek Butler watches over the drum line as they warm up.|