A group of local marching band enthusiasts are organizing a Greater Norristown community marching band for middle school-aged kids. Sort of like the plot to "Music Man" without fast-talking scam artist or barbershop quartet.
The motive behind it is that our high school marching band is dwindling in numbers. Music's been cut so much from the lower schools that a band can't be sustained by the time the students reach high school age. In these days when everyone's saying that we need youth programs more than ever ("Oh, we got trouble right here in River City"), a community marching band is an idea whose time has come.
"Why?" you might ask. We have lots of youth sports activities. We have youth theater. We have STEM classes. We have dance and art classes in town. Those are all great, but we all know that not every kid gravitates towards sports or academics, and that some kids won't get up on a stage to perform. Marching band teaches kids the same kind of teamwork and positive social skills that they get in all these other activities, with the security of performing in a group, in a setting a bit less intimidating than under a spotlight on a stage. They get exercise and they get to make music. Not only that, but this kind of marching band experience can eventually lead to college scholarships.
Hey, I was in marching bands for 7 years and I more-or-less turned out okay, didn't I?
In the meantime, the committee is seeking donations of marching band instruments, as well as dedicated volunteers from the community to form N-Town Rhythm's staff. At present, the committee meets the 1st Wednesday of each month. If you've got any marching band experience (preferably collegiate-level and HBCU-style) and you're interested, contact Ernie Hadrick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ditto if you want to donate an instrument.
When I was in Norristown High, our band rocked. We had maybe a hundred students in the band and band front. We marched at every football game (parading down Astor Street from Eisenhower to Roosevelt and back afterwards). We went to competitions. We went on band exchange trips. Let's give our youth those kinds of experiences again, and give Norristown another youth organization we can brag about.