Four Fairfax County Public Schools high school bands, including the Falls Church High School Jaguar Marching Band under the direction of Steve Jacoby, began preparing for the competitive season this past weekend by taking part in the Fairfax County Band Directors Association Marching Band Clinic and Exhibition Showcase.
More than 10 years ago, FCBDA held a showcase where FCPS marching bands could perform their show to an audience of other marching band members and receive feedback. Bands were rated on their performance and received constructive feedback to prepare for the rehearsals and competitions ahead. This year, the FCBDA board of directors decided to bring back this tradition in a different format.
FCBDA identified four bands that were willing to demonstrate their shows before two clinicians who would watch them perform, then run a 45-60 minute clinic session that consisted of rehearsing the band while giving feedback to its players on things such as music, visual effects, marching fundamentals, and other techniques, including percussion and visuals with the color guard. Then the bands had a chance to change into their uniforms and perform, showcasing what they learned and practicing what they need to do to prepare for their next competition.
Clinicians who provided feedback to the bands in the performances and clinics included Jeff Wroblewski, a drill writer who has written for marching bands across the country; John Casagrande, retired Woodson High School band director; and Steve Ballard, elementary band director in FCPS and a percussion arranger for marching bands and drum corps nationwide.