Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 30, 2013

Elkhart Memorial marching band: A show ‘for the ages’

By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— ELKHART — Elkhart Memorial marching band Director Kurt Weimer fell in love at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago last December — with a piece of music.

“We normally try to find music that’s going to suit the band or play to the strengths of a certain section,” Weimer said. “It can be something arranged for concert band, or classical music. Sometimes it’s a mix of different things, even pop music.”

At the clinic Weimer and his staff were instantly drawn to Dreamland by Michael Markowski.

“We knew it would fit the band really well,” Weimer said. “It just had a lot of variety to it and we knew it was going to be easy to put together for the kids.”

The rhythms and harmonies made sense to Weimer.

“Sometimes you can pick music that’s too rhythmic and has little melody,” Weimer said. “This music has a really nice blend of rhythmic ideas, but also has pretty melodies over the top of it.”

The theme for Story for the Ages features not a particular story, but how a story in general comes together.

“We are not really pinning it down to nursery rhymes, fables or literature stories, but we are kind of mixing it together,” Weimer said. “It’s about how you put a story together.”

The show has a dramatic beginning, plots twists, protagonists, antagonists and side kicks.

The concept has translated easily to the marching field.

“There are some things that challenge them musically and visually that’s going to take them awhile to get. But that’s pretty typical,” Weiner said. “Any band director will tell you that there’s a fine line between picking something that’s a little too challenging versus something that’s a little too easy.”

Left musically unchallenged, he suggested, students get bored.

“You might be really strong in the beginning of the season,” Weimer said. “But by the end of the season, all the enthusiasm will be lost.”

A show that’s too challenging will wear the kids out before the end of the year, said Weimer.

So far, this year’s program seems to fit the band perfectly.

“I think this may be the best show package,” Weimer said, “we’ve had since I’ve been here.”