Marching Band Harmony

My children are involved in a robotics program called FIRST LEGO League. In this environment, they are learning teamwork as well as the concepts of “gracious professionalism” and “coopertition”—a coined word that combines cooperation and competition. According to these concepts, teams “compete like crazy but treat each other with respect and kindness.” To live these values, they often share treats, advice, and even LEGO parts.

In the marching world, we have also seen these concepts at play. Every school, every team, every ensemble has major rivals—the competitors closest in distance, style, or skills. A lot of communities spend time and effort fanning the flames, but when rivals set aside their personal gains and join together in harmony, the combination can be beautiful.

In our May/June 2016 issue, we included a feature called “Rivals? What Rivals?” That article uncovered how competitive groups learn from and push each other to be their best.

Our current article, “Show of Unity,” takes this idea a step further and presents various examples of how and why ensembles have banded together in joint performances.

If being part of a combined show does not seem feasible at the moment, consider some of these other simple ideas that might create more positive interactions between organizations.

  • Greet visitors or competitors when they get off the bus.
  • Share a meal or snack before the event.
  • Join in sectional traditions.
  • Trade swag, goodie bags, or sweets.
  • Snap selfies with the other students.
  • Gather for a post-game drum-off.
  • Do the Halftime Magazine crossword together.

We hope that these ideas bring you and your ensemble greater harmony with other groups. And if you try some of these suggestions or have other thoughts, let us know.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman has played the flute since the age of 8. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry as a writer and editor and helped launch Play Music, a magazine for recreational musicians, sponsored by American Music Group (now Music and Arts Center). In the summer of 2006, Christine worked at Yamaha where she interacted with staff and students in various marching bands and drum corps. Christine earned her MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in May 2007.

crossword puzzle

Crossword: Enharmonics

A musical-themed crossword puzzle created exclusively for Halftime Magazine. Here is the March/April 2019 installment. ACROSS 1. Annoying insect 5. Fort Worth sch. 8. Enthusiastic ...