The fifth entry on Dash DeWitt's Blog, kept by Dash DeWitt and featured on the Bluebell website. This entry was posted in response to Parades & Pariahs.

Drum Major Fail

The 4th of July. Apple Pie. The bald eagle. Ryan Seacrest. And of course, the Cyrus Lavinius Jeremiah Jones High School marching band. These are things that scream America. And I am sad to report that at this year’s Founder’s Day parade, the CLJ Jones HS marching band gave a performance so lackluster that it disgraced not just the town of BlueBell, but the whole United States.

Where do I begin? The song choices were unoriginal and uninspired. “You’re a Grand Old Flag?” Really? When I was the drum major at CLJ Jones High (let’s just say it was the class of ’97), we aspired for originality. We were the first marching band in Alabama history to march to the entire score of “Sweeney Todd.” We ended up in Wetumpka by the time we were done, but it was worth it. I do not see any of this kind of commitment from today’s marchers, only half-hearted performances of hackneyed dribble.

To single out some low points, Michael Coburn was absolutely abysmal on the clarinet. I hear Coburn is the president of the Abstinence Club at CLJJHS, and his performance in the parade should help keep him on track. Joey Potts took a break from his QB2 duties to massacre the saxophone. Joey, stick to football – this sports-to-arts swinging may work for those “High School Musical” kids, but there’s no place for that in our beloved marching band. And are there even words to describe what Molly Jane Ennis did to the trombone? It would take seventy-six trombones (or more) to drown out that garbage.

Now I know you’re thinking, “Dash, they’re just children!” But if we don’t treat them like professionals, will they ever perform as such? I’m sure Bennie Goodman, Wayne Shorter and Glenn Miller all received criticism as teens. How else would they have gotten to be so good? The only reason I am harsh is because I care. And if these kids pull their acts together, practice 24/7, and search for their inner music buried deep within then maybe, just maybe, they can be almost halfway decent one day.

Dash DeWitt, Bluebell Website; Dash DeWitt's Blog

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