As you might guess from the title of the article, this year’s marching show is based on the Bible story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), using the hymn Abide with Me throughout the four movements of the show.
The show begins with a saxophone trio (seniors David Milliman, Lydia O’Dell, and Nick Schoeph) on a ramp near the front of the field, playing a simple arrangement of Abide with Me. This ramp represents our life with Christ - we are whole, we are in harmony with each other, we are home. Unfortunately, as much as we try or want to, life is not always perfect. Shortly after the trio finishes, the mood shifts as conflict is introduced - the music is now in a minor key, the time signature is in 5/4, and tempo is much faster.
The second movement is the “party scene”, slowly pulling the focus away from Christ. The music is jazzy, featuring senior Josh Castleman on the drum set, and it makes you want to get up and move! Sometimes in life, we don’t realize how far we’ve wandered away because something feels good or isn’t that bad. At this point in the show, the ramp has pieces that are removed, and we’re left with just a shell. It’s empty and hollow; like our life when we turn our back on Jesus.
The second movement ends with a big hoopla - loud hornline, drumset fills, and guard dancing with capes. But as soon as the party stops, we pause to realize how empty and hollow our lives really are. The start of the third movement is bare and very exposed - it’s much more introspective and repentant. A distant-sounding melody based on Homeward Bound is played by David Milliman, perfectly capturing those emotions. As the brass places a gorgeous chorale of the same melody, we remember that God always loves us and welcomes us back into His arms - no matter what. The band continues to crescendo for one more passionate moment - I like to picture myself as a young child spotting Jesus in the distance, running towards Him, and when I finally reach him, he scoops me up with an enormous hug - never letting me go.
The fourth and final movement is truly a celebration! Only because of Christ’s unconditional love - not any great thing we did - He is always with us. The music throughout the whole movement is bright, upbeat, and celebratory, and builds to one final grand statement of Abide With Me! All the stops are pulled out in the last 60 seconds of the show - you’ll hear an organ, the color guard flags explode with color, and the band and drumline is playing loudly. You will also see the band standing in a cross - something that’s written into every show.
The best thing about a school like Concordia is that we don’t have to hide our Christian faith. We pray before every sporting event, we begin each school day with a short reading and prayer. When the Marching Cadets compete, we get the opportunity to boldly proclaim this powerful message of the Gospel.
We are excited to dive into another competitive season. We’ve had a great start this past Saturday at Bluffton, where we received Best Music and 1st place in our class! But the band welcomes you to join us at one of our shows this year. It is going to be a fantastic show!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Director of Bands
September 9: Bluffton High School (1st place)
September 16-17: Johnny Appleseed!!
September 23: Carroll High School
September 30: ISSMA Open Class Invitational at Homestead High School
October 8: ISSMA Open Class Regionals at Lafayette Jefferson High School
October 14: TBD
October 21: ISSMA Open Class Semi-State at Decatur Central High School (Lord-willing!)
October 28: ISSMA Open Class State at Lucas Oil Stadium (Lord-willing!)