What do you get when you cross the songs of Kansas with Guitar Hero?
A halftime football show performed by the Ramona High School Royal Alliance Marching Band and Color Guard that is “going to be a really fun show,” said band director Daniel James.
“We’re going to be playing the music of Kansas with kind of a Guitar Hero-rock band theme,” explained James.
The formations, he said, will be a loose interpretation of Guitar Hero, with one set displaying a kind of screen with colored dots as a visual, similar to what is shown on the music video game.
James arranged the music for the show, selecting three songs by Kansas, a progressive rock group, formed in the early 1970s: “Carry On My Wayward Son,” “Dust in the Wind” and “Point of Know Return.” The formations were created by Reed Richardson of Poway, who writes drills for groups nationwide, James said.
“It’s a really powerful show that requires a lot of energy,” said Drum Major John Villagrana.
Although the three songs were hits in the 1970s, the students were well familiar with the music, which Villagrana described as classic rock.
The band and color guard have been hard at work, getting ready for this halftime show and the upcoming marching band competition season. They recently participated in a two-week band camp where they spent each day practicing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
James said the members worked on marching basics outdoors from 8 to 10 a.m., then went inside the school for sectional rehearsals from 10 a.m. to noon, had an hour for lunch, worked on ensemble rehearsals from 1 to 3 p.m. and then went back outside for more marching basics from 3 to 5 p.m. During the second week, the hours outside were spent on the drills for the halftime show.
The marching band consists of 54 members: 42 students in the band playing woodwinds, brass and percussion, and 12 members of the color guard.
Chelsea Jauregui, the color guard captain, is enthused about the halftime show and the props that the guard will be using.
“I often feel the guard is the music explained through dance and color,” she said.
To symbolize the notes shown on the Guitar Hero video screen, the color guard will carry hula hoops above their heads. Each hoop will be covered with red, green or yellow fabric like the dots on the game screen, explained Jauregui. In another set on the field, the guard will use flags with guitars on them.
James said the guard will “spoof” a rock concert by holding something that will resemble a flame, similar to when concert-goers hold up lighters.
Band President Nicole Shellhammer said she is really excited about the show.
“Mr. James is putting a lot of visuals in this,” she said.
James has 30 to 35 pages of formations just for the song “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The designs on the field he said, “interpret the music and show off our marching ability.”