News & Discussion
Al Capone Invades:
1929 Gangster Story
March on Chicago - Students have been preparing Chicago-themed show this summer to perform at football games and competitions. Photo by Chelsea Baines
Student Feature Article
Al Capone Invades: Band Depicts 1929 Gangster Story
FHS student author Katie Ray is a reporter for the FHS Register newspaper.
The metronome sounds and the band snaps to set. Immediately, the gangster persona comes alive within the band and the stadium steps off into Al Capone’s world.
This year, FHS band has picked “Chicago 1929 – A Gangster Chronicle” as their theme for the season. The gangster theme will be shown through music and visual techniques during the band’s half time show.
“Through the show, the audience is taken back to the late 1920s, when Al Capone was loose and running around the city streets,” said sophomore color guard member Bethany Harper. “The music and visuals help tell the story of gangsters from 1929 and their attempts to get away with their criminal plans.”
The various techniques the band uses to establish this theme vary from sirens at the beginning and the band spelling out 1929 on the field, to a jazz section with the color guard representing a “sleazy” bar scene, according to various band students.
“(The show) ends with a really pretty selection showing the worst is gone … because the bad guys are gone,” junior Jasmine Franklin said. “(However), right when you think it’s over there’s one last attack of music, representing the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression.”
Aside from the summer practice, the band begins their day at 7:45 every morning and they also have practice every Tuesday night from 6:30 to 8:30, according to Bethany Harper. This practice ensures the band will be prepared for half time shows and contests.
“(We had) the same summer schedule we have used in the past, but for some reason, we were able to accomplish more than usual,” said band director Barry Harper. “We have 24 sets of drill on the field, which is the most we have accomplished before the first school day.”
The contests the band will attend include the Renegade Review at Tulsa Union High School and the Greater St. Louis Marching Festival, where contests are performed in a domed stadium, according to Harper.
“We got so much work done and everyone stayed focused, “ senior drum major Jennifer Mayes said. “We are in for an excellent marching season.”
While many band members hope to win competitions, success is more than a medal for most.
“If we feel good about the performance, we are not as concerned with the scores or rankings,” Barry Harper said. “Just competing with bands of this caliber makes us better and gives us a good perspective on what is going on.”
“A successful season is one where everyone has fun and works their hardest even if we don’t win,” senior Talia Behrend-Wilcox said. “Winning is just the cherry on top.”
The band performed the gangster show for the first time at the football game on September 17.
“This year we have a strong junior and senior class that are leading the way; combine that with great music and interesting marching, and it will be a great year,” senior Kewei Xu said.