Tuba or Not Tuba? That was one of the questions that Kurt Heinecke faced as music director for the kids’ television program “Veggie Tales” when writing music for the episode “Gideon: Tuba Warrior.” The score for the band-themed episode required some marching band elements, and when it came time to write a cadence, Heinecke had a unique idea. He contacted the Fred J. Page High School Marching Patriots in Franklin, Tenn., to see if the drum line would be interested in recording a piece for the episode.
“I created a bass drum part that was pretty straightforward,” Heinecke says. “It was fun to see what the director did with it. He wrote out full-fledged drum parts, and then they just sight-read it that day. [Without the band] I would either do it with a computer setup, or I’d be playing a simpler part in my own studio. I just wanted to get a bigger, more realistic drum corps-type sound.”
Two students and two directors from the band went to Heinecke’s studio to record the episode. Heinecke’s daughter plays flute for the Marching Patriots and performs in the school’s winter percussion group, so he knew of the band’s accomplishments.
The 79-member band has won Division II State Championships four years in a row (from 2004 to 2007). In 2007, the band also finished second in Class A at the Bands of America Grand Nationals. The winter percussion group, which boasts 50 members, has skyrocketed with the band’s recent success and a seventh-place finish at the WGI World Championships in the Scholastic Marching World Class.
“I’m really proud of what they’ve done, and I’ve got an opportunity to use them, not only to help the show, but to give something back to them,” Heinecke says.
The episode, “Gideon: Tuba Warrior” is available on DVD through retailers nationwide as well as online at www.bigidea.com. The band is featured in a behind-the-scenes clip.