The Rolla High School Marching Band is a dedicated team, and is ready to show off their hard work to the community, bringing a unique show they're sure no one's quite seen before . . .

The start of the fall semester means the beginning of hard work for many teams and clubs, but some groups started working well before the first school bell rang. The Rolla High School Marching Band is one of these dedicated teams, and is getting ready to show off their hard work to the community, bringing a unique show they’re sure no one’s quite seen before.

Each year the marching band competes with other schools in a series of competitions, to see who has the most well put together show. Rolla Band Director John Slowensky said each year brings a new challenge finding a show to please the judges; but his students have the talent to pull off what they have planned this year.

“It gets harder and harder every year to figure out what you’re going to do, going into each season,” Slowensky said. “Eveything’s been done—you go into a marching festival and you see everything. Especially at the high school level, it’s getting harder to find something nobody’s done before, or at least a concept no one’s dabbled in.”

Each year the band comes to compete with an entirely original score of music, choreography and theme to maintain their level of excellence.

After getting together with other members of the staff in the late-spring, Slowensky said they came up with a new concept that expands on the bounds on what they’ve done in the past.

“We want to have a fun show about the band, how we do what we do,” he said. “The title’s called “The Fourth Wall.” The term fourth wall comes from the old actor’s trope of an actor turning towards and addressing the audience. The “fourth wall” refers to the camera, the invisible fourth wall of a set the audience doesn’t typically see. Slowensky and his students will be breaking the fourth wall this season, taking the old theme and turning that into a musical, marching band experience.

“That’s what we’re doing with band this year,” Slowensky said. “We have a narrator that’s going to talk throughout some parts of the show, and the band and the guard, every once and a while, is going to directly relate to the audience, kind of making fun of what we do as a marching band.”

Slowensky said he wants the show to bring the audience in, and answer the questions of why they (the marching band) do what they do and how they do it.

“So far it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “The kids enjoy what they’re doing. They love performing, they love working hard. Our kids are always fantastic. They work tremendously hard. It is different than what we’ve ever done in the past. We know this is going to be a very judge-pleasing show and we hope it’s an audience-pleasing show.”

In order to break the fourth wall through marching band, there are a lot of moving pieces working together, according to Slowensky. The show will feature a narrator and the band members on the field will move to reflect what he's saying and back it up through music.

“Musically, you’re always breaking the fourth wall because you’re playing to an audience,” said Slowensky. “The impacts, dynamics and the theme are relating to what the narrator is saying.” The musical style of the show, according to Slowensky, is quintessential, typical marching band music with a little 20th Century flair.

“We’re hoping to throw melodies out there that will stick with people, so they can hear them and hum back,” Slowensky said.

The show is challenging, but Slowensky said the students are more than capable.
“The fun part is always the hard work the kids put in, and seeing the smiles on their faces when they know they’re accomplishing something very special,” he said, adding with a grin that, “we always end up with the best of the best kids in Rolla High School. A lot of other activities feel that way as well, and we hope that they do, but I’ve got the best kids.”