“From the 50 Yard Line”

With the current popularity of reality TV shows and documentaries, it’s no surprise that someone decided to follow teens through band camp, auditions, rehearsals and competitions to document the lives of high school marching band students.

“From the 50 Yard Line,” a film by Doug Lantz, depicts the experiences of the marching bands at Dayton, Ohio-based Centerville High School, Lantz’s alma mater, and Los Angeles-based Fairfax High School, where music education was recently reinstated after 18 years of silence due to budget cuts. The documentary allows audiences to see just how emotionally gratifying—even life-changing—marching band can be for high school students.

“Instrumental music is being cut in high school across the country,” Lantz explains. “If people learn about the social and academic benefits of these programs, hopefully, [the programs] won’t be cut in the future. That’s one of the goals of this film.”

According to studies mentioned in the documentary, teens who participate in music programs have higher SAT scores and better math and science grades.

Marching bands also provide students with a supportive family atmosphere. “When that’s taken away, it’s staggering to think of what’s lost,” Lantz says.

“From the 50 Yard Line,” which Lantz nicknames “Marching Band Appreciation 101,” recently won the 2007 Viola M. Marshall Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary through the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Best Family Film at the 2007 Bluegrass Independent Film Festival in the greater Louisville, Ky., area.

For more information, visit www.fromthe50yardline.com.

About author

Janel Healy

Janel Healy currently works as a professional vocalist for Holland America Line. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2008 with a degree in communication and a minor in American studies. While at USC, she sang alto in her a cappella group, the SoCal VoCals, which won first place in the 2008 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. She played trumpet and piano in junior high.