Intensity via Marching Band

A Chicago marching band
Photo released under a Creative Commons license by Jbweir

Download MarchingBand.mp3 (8.0mb)
A high-school marching band at the Starlight Parade in Portland, OR. The main piece is super imperial feeling, followed by an awesome drum breakdown around 3:20.

It seems parades have become just excuses to sculpt giant advertisements out of papier maché, but I still will fight for a good seat to see the high-school marching bands. I love the intensity from the snare drums and horns that leave me feeling like it’s our civilization’s final hour. I suppose the military and sport events felt the same way when they adopted the marching band. I’m pretty pacifistic, but I sympathize with that pre-game energy and the excitement that chaos is about to be unleashed. This was also a lesson in field recording when my microphone experienced its own share of intensity. It got a bit overwhelmed by the overtones of the bass reflecting off the buildings downtown, causing the mic to get overloaded and distort at certain points, even though the recording levels were far from peaking. This was extremely frustrating at first, but looking back, the distortion seems appropriate and symbolic.

icon for podpress  Marching Band in the Starlight Parade [4:22m]

Comments (15) to “Intensity via Marching Band”

  1. I remember you giving me these recordings via iChat when you got home! So entrancing; fantastic. I was pretty drunk by the time I heard them, and hooked my computer up to the big speakers in my apartment, BLASTING the recordings on repeat for a good hour. Sabina, my roommate came home, not as drunk as me, shared some special buzzing to the “pre-game” excitement! I am a huge fan of the overload, as analogies and metaphors via the medium form give a very intense and appropriate sort of mortal texture to the recording’s content.

  2. 756218 Blog Verification…


  3. I do a lot of marching band recordings on my website. I stumbled upon yours trying to find info on how to keep your recordings from distorting due to 150 teenagers playing as loud as they can 6 feet from the mic. I guess I have to get farther away, but I love the stereo seperation I currently get. I use SM57 mics and I’ll be trying some Heil PR-20 mics this week.

  4. hi i’m from Maracaibo Venezuela and i’m a tenros drum player of a marching band of this city, and i like taht sound, please send me a letter or images from these drum line…bye bye…remember im from venezuela

  5. hello i want know añad me in your e-mails plis
    i speak españish
    see you
    i from tamaulipas mexico

  6. The band pictured is not a high school band. It is the North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine–one the premiere college bands in the country. I was a member during the late ’80s and early 90’s. Check out the band with audio and video clips at or the university’s site at

  7. Wow, thanks for that detail jb! I am stoked to know what band the photo is of and hope to find some recordings on their site. The photo is more representational, I’m not even sure which High School band is in the recording anymore.

  8. your marching band is veri good and best of the best

  9. I am a real admirator of Show&Marching Bands since a long time. I just try to create some contacts with bands from around the world. I like your sound and music.

    I live in France but I try to travelling for meeting and assisting to different kinds of events.

  10. im anith frm malaysia…
    wow i like da sound…
    cn i have da clip???
    plzzz coz im da snare drummer player at my school..
    bt now im in college..
    quite longtym i didn’t hear da band song…

  11. eu gostaria se posivel de ter algumas partes da drumcorps .

  12. I am from guatemala! And I am very interested in knowing the serious of the drums they use, here in Guatemala, there are not even Marching Band, just war or military bands, and I would like to see more of you .. Thanking all over Daniel Reyes


  14. APBA(Asia& pacific Band Association)was established in 2008 Mai,China.wellcome you attention!

  15. umm… this is a pic of North Carolina A&T. a college band

Leave Feedback »
*Required (Never published)