Monday, September 8, 2014

Music & Football

Being from a different country, I have been an eager student on the American ways. During the FIFA World Cup 2014 series, I cannot mention the countless conversations I had about football (soccer, as the Americans insist on calling it!) and American football. I enjoy both very much but I must say, the pomp and circumstance that goes into one of these American football games is quite remarkable.  
I went to my very first American football game between Georgia Southern University and Savannah State University on Saturday 6th September 2014.
For many, the game was their ultimate point of focus, but being a music enthusiast, it would only make sense that I was as equally entertained by the musicianship displayed. The World Cup series put on an engaging ceremony during the opening day to which I was glued, but that was the end of that and the disconnect is quite apparent.

Besides the whole excitement of tailgating, southern cooking and the actual game, my attention was entirely drawn to the marching bands. It was so interesting to see the relationship between music and sports in such a captivating fashion. To think that all the football games have these elaborate productions however is incredible. 

This certainly peaked my interest to try and understand how it became such an important part of the football games. Marching bands evolved from military bands, and as they became less important in the armies, they became more ceremonial. Bands were integrated into American football since before the twentieth century. They are a big part of the pregame and halftime shows. The first formation was of the block ‘P’ in 1907 created by Paul Spotts, director of the Purdue All-American Marching Band. The first halftime show was in the same year by the University of Illinois Marching Illini.
Picture from personal collection

This Saturday however, it was definitely a highlight when the Southern Pride Marching Band and the Coastal Empire Sound Explosion (C.E.S.E) from Savannah State University performed a joint piece during the halftime show in honor of the Military Appreciation Day.

The Southern Pride Marching Band was formed in 1983 and has over a hundred members with some of their music recordings available on Soundcloud.