Plainwell band comes out of the shadows

Ryan Lewis

Plainwell High School Marching Band’s show this year will emerge from shadows.
American composer Brian Balmages’ piece “Shadows Unleashed” inspired director David Hepinstall to design a show around a storyline.
“My staff and I came up with storyline first and then went after music that would match it,” Hepinstall said. “It will portray a sense of duality.”
He said the color guard will play the part of mischievous shadows, emerging from props that look like trees on the field. In one song, they will run among the sideline percussion players, stealing mallets, and later nab the drum line’s snare drums, forcing the players to chase after them and play them at odd angles.
Besides playing the music of the show’s namesake, the band will also play “Shadow’s Bride” by Peter Gundry; “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” adapted from an orchestral piece by Edvard Grieg; and the finale of Carmina Burana by German composer Carl Orff.
The band numbers 113, and Hepinstall said its sound is quite strong this year.
“We continue to be a young band, but this year’s freshman class was a little smaller than average; we have a lot of veterans,” he said. “I feel like we can do a lot of good stuff and we’re in a really good place.
He praised his staff as well, saying they have been able to help the students understand more deeply marching techniques they haven’t had an opportunity to do in the past.
“I’m very excited for where we’ll end up by mid-October. It feels like we’re moving along slowly but we’re cleaner.
The band kicks off its competitive season Sept. 30 at Otsego’s invitational, on Oct. 7 in Vicksburg, Oct. 11 at the District 11 festival (also in Vicksburg) and wraps up Oct. 21 at Jenison.


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