[StBernard] great band story
Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Oct 22 09:40:36 EDT 2007
>From a music teacher friend of mine. Sounds like the little band that
wow...and I thought I had trouble w/32 in my first marching band!
This group is an inspiration...and I think the numbers are going to rise
quickly with this kind of support!!!
10-member band can't hide from wrong notes
Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Sarah Crump
Newhouse News Service
THOMPSON TOWNSHIP, OHIO -- Four shrill spurts of Daniel Bingman's
whistle split the perfect fall football night. His Ledgemont High School
marching band took to the field under the lights looking military snappy in
sharp red, black and white uniforms.
All 10 of its members.
That's one trumpet, one trombone, two piccolos, a flute, two
saxophones, a snare drum, a bass drum and a pair of cymbals in this band, in
Thompson Township northeast of Cleveland.
"I call them the Best Little Band in the Land," said Michelle
Compton, the "Voice of Ledgemont," who introduces the band at halftimes. At
the school's homecoming game in early October, she announced the band's
lineup of tunes -- themes from "Hogan's Heroes," "Coach" and "Animaniacs" --
from the new press box behind the home side's packed stands -- all of 10
rows of bleachers.
"They take pride in what they do, and it shows," said Compton, whose
older daughters play trombone and cymbals in the band while her youngest
serves as a band aide. "All the kids in the band work hard."
They have to, or they'll stick out, said Stormi Rankin, a senior,
and the band's sole trumpet player.
"That's what I like about our little band. You can't just stand
there and not play."
Without Stormi's trumpet, there would be no melody in much of the
And, when you are only 10 strong, there's no place to hide when a
solitary horn blasts a wrong note, or the only big bass drum thuds off
"I think they have a lot of courage to go out there," said "band
mom" Cristie Adams, who makes sure the kids find all the parts of their
uniforms and rides on the bus with them to games.
"I go to the sidelines when they play," she said about the sparse
band, which brings laughter at some away games. "There are snickers from the
other side when they come out, but by the time they leave, the other side is
on its feet. They admire their spunk."
The kids get no academic credit for the extracurricular marching
band, which eats up 2 ½ after-school hours of practicing four days a week,
but that doesn't matter.
"They love to be with each other. On a scale of 10, I'd give their
enthusiasm an 8," said Bingman, 28, who had been a substitute teacher in
northwestern Ohio until he was hired for his first full-time music-teacher
job by Ledgemont in August, a week before its band camp started.
"Because we're smaller, it makes you want to push more," said Travis
Gelhausen, a freshman who took up the bass drum just nine days before the
With only about 200 in the entire school, the new director dipped
into middle and elementary schools for help.
Said Samia is not much bigger than the saxophone he totes. He is
only 11, the youngest of the players, who range from a sixth-grader to two
seniors. Said showed up for the first day of band camp not knowing if he'd
make the cut.
No problem, there were no cuts.
"I said, I'm only in sixth grade," Said said. "But Mr. Bingman said,
It's hard learning marching routines when you're still trying to
bam-bam in the right places. Because bass drummer Travis is so new, he plays
on the sidelines standing next to trumpet player Stormi, while the rest of
the band slides into box steps and splits into pinwheels. Stormi just got
her cast off after breaking her foot in track.
The two join the rest of the band on the field when it stays put to
play the rest of its show.
Standing three yards or so apart, focused and erect, the band
members get ready to play. They stretch about 25 yards from the 40-yard line
across midfield to near the 35.
At a practice earlier in the week after a long school day, the band
seemed way too lean. Their marching was uncertain, their sound thin. Then
Bingman said calmly, "We're going to do this until you get it right." At 6
feet 7, he doesn't have to yell for kids to listen.
They did get it right. Somehow, at halftime at a fresh fall game in
the country, things came together magically. Call it the "76 Trombones"
phenomenon, when the band in "The Music Man" goes from ragtag to regal in a
Maybe it's because Ledgemont led 32-0. Maybe it's because
Ashtabula's high school brought no band to share the limelight. Or was it
the sharp uniforms, the majorettes and their fire batons, or the friends in
the stands? But when mouthpieces were raised to lips, the sound of the
Marching Ten of Ledgemont High soared splendidly above the crowd.
It was just as cymbals player MacKenzie Compton, 12, promised. "You
think we're going to sound small. But we sound big!"
. . . . . . .
Sarah Crump is a reporter for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. She can
be contacted at scrump at plaind.com.
More information about the StBernard