…and marching band, WGI, etc. Props for any sort of marching arts are only as good as the best “band dad” in your group. Some band dads are great engineers, but staying in budget is always the trick. Aside: that term was not (properly) defined in Urban Dictionary, so I added a definition 😎

When it comes to props, the name of the game is cheap since they’re only used for a season. But they need to last a whole season, and work consistently. Sometimes you need to solve a problem which doesn’t have an off-the-shelf solution. When structural strength is not a concern, 3D printing can help.

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When the pandemic hit, I needed something to do. All my music stuff had been canceled. Unlike me, who works remotely, it was apparent that several businesses were going to be negatively impacted.

I contacted Best American Craftsman (aka BAC) in Overland Park, Kansas to see if they’d still be fixing instruments. They would be, but with some staff doing repairs at home, and a smaller staff in the shop at any given time. All good, I was in no hurry.

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This is for those of you involved with any competitive pageantry out there, whether it’s for WGI, DCI, BOA, or your summer parade marching band. It’s mostly for the members, specifically high school kids because I think most instructors out there know the gig.

TL;DR? Listen all the way until the end.

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Hey there – here’s a how-to on setting up compound complex time signatures in TE Tuner and how we use it at rehearsal.

I have the privilege of working with a WGI winds group called River Valley Sound out of Elk River Minnesota. For our 2022 production we’re playing a hymn called “Nearer My God to Thee” and the arrangement we’re using is by a BYU group called Vocal Point. It’s an awesome arrangement and performance – I’ll leave a link in the description. You should definitely check it out.

The Vocal Point arrangement starts in 4/4 but goes into 7/8 time, then back to 4/4 for the arrival, then 7/8 to the end. Normally we’d use Dr. Beat at rehearsal, but we haven’t found a way to set up 7/8 time in it easily.

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March 11th, 2020 to me, felt a lot September 11th. Thousands of people didn’t die in one fell swoop, but it was when Coronavirus shifted from concern to cancellation. What once seemed far away was at our doorstep. A grim reaper coming that would rack up a worldwide death toll two orders of magnitude greater than September 11th.

As trivial as it sounds, WGI was cancelled on March 11th. With units traveling to Ohio from several countries (including Japan) and all over the US, it made sense to cancel it. Should we all be sitting in close quarters in a poorly ventilated arena? Probably not. Sites like is it canceled yet? had been tracking canceled events, and this was just another notch on the bedpost.

Maybe I could still enjoy some local live music? I had tickets for the orchestra that Friday, March 13th. It was to be canceled too, but not entirely. The orchestra would play – without a hall audience, and they would broadcast it on Minnesota Public Radio. The repertoire? Shostakovich’s 7th – The Leningrad Symphony.

I tuned into the broadcast and sat in darkness to soak in the sounds. You can listen to the historic live broadcast on the MPR site.

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