By Eric Olson
“What’s this? What’s this? There’s color everywhere. What’s this? What’s this? There’s white things in the air!“ Jack, the pumpkin king from The Nightmare Before Christmas could not have said it better, for it’s a schizophrenic scene on the field at Boulder Creek high school (BCHS) as the Jaguar Pride marching band executes their 2016 performance of the “Schizophrenic Serenade.”
The BCHS 2016 marching season features the musical arrangement of film composer Danny Elfman. Elfman is known for creating the musical scores for many of the Tim Burton movies, including Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Batman for which he won a Grammy. In addition to being the lead singer for the band Oingo Boingo for nearly 20 years, he also created the theme for the television show The Simpsons. The Jaguars’ performance consists of several movements each showcasing an Elfman melody from one of these popular films.
Pulling together such a performance is no small feat. The Jag’s marching season began with summer training in late July and includes eight football game performances and five band competitions. Students typically log 10 – 15 hours of weekly practice outside of the 5 hour in-class commitment and additional personal practice time. In addition to learning and memorizing the music, each band member must also learn their role in a large choreography which consists of multiple marching step variations, transitions, sets, instrument positions, and visuals. Everett Olson, senior trumpet player for the Jaguar Pride comments “Marching band is a family, and one of the more demanding organizations in high school. Everyone is a part of the performance and each member plays a unique role.” Olson continues by explaining, “The band has almost 150 players and there are no substitutes, no back up players, and no timeouts.” The band’s dedication and work ethnic has proven successful. Since its inception in 2004, the band has increased membership every year, moving from division II to division I in 2013, and subsequently placing in the top 10 during the 2015 State Band competition.
As an additional highlight to the 2016 season, the group received a special honor when asked to perform at this year’s Holiday Bowl in San Diego, California on Dec 27th. An invitation to perform at a bowl game would normally require a lengthy audition process. To the credit of the Boulder Creek Band and its director, Mr. James O’Halloran, Boulder Creek had the honor of being selected directly based on performance history and reputation.
The band performs “Schizophrenic Serenade” every Friday at the BCHS football games in Anthem and neighboring Deer Valley high schools. Most Saturdays they participate in band competitions around the Phoenix area.
Eric Olson, a resident of Desert Hills, is vice president of marketing at a north Phoenix software company, a technical writer and a sixth-year band parent.