What could the Kansas City blues scene have to do with a high school marching band? The blues brothers, of course! This isn't Four Fried Chickens and a Coke; this is the Winnetonka Marching Pride version. Band director Pat Setser will direct her 150th half time show as the director of Kansas City's Winnetonka High School band on October 22, 2010.
According to the press release, “The Blues Brothers will be there,” Setser says, laughing. “We're celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Blues Brothers, and you can expect to see some sunglasses under the stadium lights.” Setser is an avid fan of the Brothers Blue, and has occasionally worked the Jake and Elwood characters into the marching band's show over the years. The band generally plays some tunes from the Blues Brothers movie and hams it up for the half time crowd during Winnetonka Griffins home football games.
Says Setser, “We've done the Blues Brothers before, and did it a second time for a sequel called 'The Blues Brothers Meet the Men in Black' — featuring a monster from outer space singing a love ballad. . . . The kids always inspire me. I once wrote a whole show about kids and their water bottles, needing a drink of water, and taught them moves I'd seen in a Super Bowl ad with dancing lizards.” Setser still charts and choreographs every move the band makes, as she has for thirty marching seasons now.
The band has a history of facing the elements, so be prepared for the show to go on rain or shine. Setser tells it like it is when it comes to weathering the storm: “If the football team played in the rain and mud, we marched. We stayed with the team. Marching in mud is a skill, and we practiced for it.” During one chilled and sloppy half time show, the field had become such a quagmire that it pulled the shoes right off the marching band's feet. The Marching Pride removed their shoes and socks and finished marching the show bare foot.
The glory is all shared with the students. Setser says that the marching shows are “a hugely collaborative effort between the kids and me. I write the shows initially, but it continues to evolve as the kids bring their own ideas to the field.” These kids show a lot of commitment to make these shows contest ready. The band competes annually in marching contests. Students show up to marching band camp in the summer where they march for five to six hours a day. They continue their extra effort practicing from the start of the school year until the end of October with 6:45 a.m. musical and marching rehearsals, Monday Through Friday. “Kids aren't graded just for showing up,” Setser says, “Anyone can show up. We grade on how hard they work and how much they improve. We look at memorization of music and routine, and consistency of movement, which means marching in step, angling their horns, watching their lines, and managing accurate step-offs.”
Winnetonka High School also has a tradition of doing something extra for Winnetonka Football fans. They perform a “Fifth Quarter” show right after each home game ends. Look for things to stay interesting after the game at the District Football Stadium in North Kansas City on October 22, 2010. You can also catch the band at te Sprint Center on November 22 and 23 during the championship rounds of the College Basketball Experience Classic. The Pride Band will also play at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Easter Sunday.
Find out all the details on Winnetonka High School's Pride Band at PrideBand.com.