Marching band’s new halftime show preserves traditions, explores new ground


Ella Parker

The Bearden band performs their new halftime show “Avion” at a recent football game.

On fall Friday nights under the glow of the stadium lights, members of the Bearden band take to the field to perform a thoroughly-rehearsed, meticulously-planned halftime show.

This year’s show is titled “Avion,” and it shows a visual and aural display of the nature of birds. 

Band director Mrs. Megan Christian assisted the band in investigating this year’s show concept. 

“We started thinking, ‘Wow, what incredible life experiences birds have, and also what scary experiences birds have,’” Mrs. Christian said. 

The “birds,” played by members of the band, show individual and group behaviors in the show, much like behaviors they would show in their true environments. 

The beginning of the show depicts a storm entering the environment and shows the ways in which birds react to the stimulus. All of the members eventually group back together into one collective unit, showing the contrast between individual and collective efforts. 

Band members, including drum major Jackson Schriver, have enjoyed getting to showcase their artistic and musical takes on the topic. 

“Some people want to fly away from their circumstances,” Schriver said. “It [the show] gives us a lot of good ideas to think about the artistic applications of what we’re doing, which is just a super cool opportunity.”

Rehearsals for the halftime show begin in the late spring of the previous year, before school ends. The band collectively builds on their progress day by day through band camp, summer rehearsals, and eventually, after school rehearsals. 

“It takes a long time, three or four months, to get the whole thing up and going,” Schriver said. “We really develop it as we go. We might put stuff into place, and we just build on that over time.”

These extensive rehearsals lead up to the marching band competition season, which begins Sept. 24. Competitions serve as a way to evaluate collective progress and provide members with an overall goal. 

“The intent of the show is to provide students with a learning experience – to learn how to collaborate, to learn how to individually gain confidence and perform successfully, and to relate to music,” Mrs. Christian said. 

Mrs. Christian has played a directorial role in setting up and teaching the halftime show, and she strives to ensure every member is set up to be successful. Student leadership is prevalent in the marching band through the three drum majors – Schriver, Bryan Utomo, and Mustafa Arkawazi. Drum majors, including Schriver, keep the band in a progressive motion daily while motivating their peers in rehearsals. 

“It can be challenging because a lot of days, because we get out of school and we don’t want to rehearse for two hours,” Schriver said. “But if you want to get better and you want to get to that point where artistically and competitively, we can say that we’re successful, we have to keep pushing.”

Managing different personalities and levels of commitment can be challenging, but leadership from Mrs. Christian and the drum majors help connect all members and moving parts to form a collective, completed halftime show. 

“The Bearden band has a legacy of being really excellent in everything we do and has had fantastic drum major leadership in the past,” Schriver said. “I think we really feel like it’s a duty of ours to expand that.”