“There is an American quality, a tone, an energy ... instantly recognizable”

It makes me wonder how we got here.

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The cadence of the drums led the line of soldiers into battle and the bugle called the cavalry charge. Afterwards, the drums and bugles led the soldiers down Main Street, USA as Johnny came marching home again.

To commemorate their history, their comrades and the camaraderie, as well as to refine a sense of pride and patriotism in their fellow citizens, the drums and bugles gathered and performed as a reminder of who we are and where we came from. We were proud of those that marched for they gave us something which defines us as Americans……...Freedom.

It harkens us back to a time when John Phillips Sousa and his band marched to the town square on an idyllic summer Sunday afternoon, wearing their proud uniforms and played the music which defined the spirit of our nation. Flags waved and the Honor Guard, with their rifles and sabres, solemnly guarded Old Glory. Americana.

Those sounds and sights became deeply rooted in our collective consciousness as Americans and the tradition was passed down from generation to generation.

Time, also, marches on and genres of ‘popular’ music rise and fall. Yet, through it all, like Old Glory flying in the Dawn’s Early Light, the spirit of the music that got us here……... remains. It is found in solemn ceremonies as we commemorate the lives and bravery of those that have given us our freedom. It is found in parades, where we as Americans show off and display a collective pride as a community and as a nation. It is found in park gazebos on idyllic summer Sunday afternoons.  It is found at sporting events. The spirit of that music that got us here……... Lives! It lives in every marching band and drum and bugle corps that marches on to the field and into our hearts and minds and past. It also marches us, with each and every precise step, into our future.

To be sure, things have evolved. Instruments became more sophisticated, electricity got itself involved but the spirit of the music remains the same. The performers work very hard to prepare and then go out and delight us with Spectacle and Pageantry. We behold a sonic and visual display that is intelligible to the heart and we are left breathless and proud. Proud of many things; our performers, our Flag, our past and the potential for our future.

On Sunday October 6th, 2019, the South Plainfield High School Tiger Marching Band will be hosting home show at 1:00 PM at Frank Jost Field. Be there. Be there and be proud. Be there and delight in the Spectacle and Pageantry that our students (and many others from surrounding communities) are working very hard to present, for you, for our community and in a larger sense, our heritage and our future. 

It is……… Americana.

Keith Slicner