Marching band students, director expand on new symphony for this year’s show, includes melodies from Queen songs

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Marching band students, director expand on new symphony for this year’s show, includes melodies from Queen songs

Sophomore Grant Herrmann plays his baritone in marching band’s new show, “Eternal Beloved.” The show includes excerpts from Queen songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Sophomore Grant Herrmann plays his baritone in marching band’s new show, “Eternal Beloved.” The show includes excerpts from Queen songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Clare Dierckman

Sophomore Grant Herrmann plays his baritone in marching band’s new show, “Eternal Beloved.” The show includes excerpts from Queen songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Clare Dierckman

Clare Dierckman

Sophomore Grant Herrmann plays his baritone in marching band’s new show, “Eternal Beloved.” The show includes excerpts from Queen songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Emily Carlisle

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Clare Dierckman
Senior Devin Pote rehearses choreography at an after-school rehearsal. He said he believes the use of popular music will resonate with audiences.

If you saw the marching band’s halftime performance at the Homecoming football game then you likely realized you recognized a melody or two. That is because this year, the band chose a new route rather than using a straight symphony for its set. The marching band was performing a symphony, written by Tolga Kashif, that incorporates popular melodies written by the band Queen.

Queen has gained more recognition among younger generations in the past year due to the release of the hit movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Nov. 2, 2018, with the band being featured on items such as t-shirts. However, this is not why the directors chose to perform the symphony this year. According to Chris Kreke, director of the marching band and performing arts department chairperson, he and the other directors saved this set for a time that just seemed right. 

Kreke said, “(The directors) first heard the symphony in 2003 when it won a Grammy. We had been talking about using that music for a long time. But it just seemed to fit this group really well. We’ve got an incredible french horn soloist, senior Claire Fisher, who we wanted to feature (in some capacity) and there are some incredible parts in the symphony for that. We also just felt like we needed to do something that kept some of the character of what we’ve been doing the last few years but also made it a little bit more accessible for the audiences.”

With the rise in Queen’s popularity, it is likely many people watching the set will recognize some of the melodies hidden in the symphony. The full symphony includes 14 Queen songs, including some of the band’s most recognizable songs such as “We Are The Champions,” “Killer Queen,” “Radio Gaga,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and, of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Devin Pote, trumpet player and senior, said the audience may take a while to catch on, but once they realize where they know the songs from, they will really enjoy it.

Pote said, “I think that (Queen’s music) is really popular. So I think that is going to help connect the audience to the music. Once that melody kicks in, people are (going to) realize, ‘Oh, that’s Queen.’”

Grant Herrmann, baritone player and sophomore, said he agreed with Pote because people tend to connect with things they can recognize.

Herrmann said, “Although most people will be familiar with the music, it is not note-for-note Queen. I think that when people can pick out the few notes they know, it will really engage our audience and draw them into the show as a whole.”

Clare Dierckman
Senior Devin Pote rehearses choreography at an after-school rehearsal. He said he believes the use of popular music will resonate with audiences.

The story throughout the show follows Fisher and Matthew Beavan, color guard member and junior, through a love story involving vampires and immortality.  Fisher is immortal and the color guard, including Beavan’s character once he is bitten, are vampires. Fisher’s character has the choice to become mortal and live out the rest of her life with Beavan’s character or to stay immortal and watch him die. Kreke said the major reason for the plot was the prominence of the song “Who Wants To Live Forever” in the symphony.

Herrmann said, “It is truly just a complicated love story. Once you pull back from the vampires and immortality, it is a story of love and compromise for those you love.”

This idea presents a much different atmosphere from last year’s set, “Voyage to Valhalla”, which was about Norse mythology and Viking ships. “Eternal Beloved”, this year’s set, has more fantasy and fictional aspects than last year’s. The shift in narrative has led to a change in scenery. Last year there was a giant Viking ship that was moved throughout the field, but this year there are smaller pieces that make up a large picture.

Kreke said the story and all of the intricate details involved in each performance would not be possible without the support of the community.

“The parents have been doing a really incredible job of building stuff for the set,” Kreke said. “(Students) probably haven’t seen any of that at football games because we haven’t really brought much of that out yet. But there are a lot of faux stone archways and walls and pillars and things everywhere. They’ve been doing a really incredible job of building all of that for us. So I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who has helped out.”

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