Whit Friday road march formation

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BbBill, May 23, 2006.

  1. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    In the back o' beyond
    Is there a set formation for the road march in Whit Friday or is there some kinda rough formation that someone can tell me?!

    Last year a few of us played for Denham & Hendon, but all I can remember was trombones out the front, then us basses in the 2nd row, and well....I didnt really look behind me or I cant really remember who was where, if I did look...!!! :rolleyes:

    Cheers :tup
  2. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

    The usual marching formation:-

    Backrow Cornets
    Front Row

    Some bands put drums at the very back instead.

  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    There's actually quite a variation to be found in marching formations. Although putting the trombones in the front gives them more slide room without worrying about those in front, it also gives a rather unbalanced impression as the band marches towards you, and so occasionally, especially with larger bands, the trombones are moved further back. I've played in such a formation with Monkwearmouth SA band on bass trombone, and the big drawback is that it separates the bass trombone from the basses and you can feel quite isolated!

    With the formation outlined in Simon_horn's post it also depends to some extent on the size of the band marching, and the number of people in each rank - remembering that although numbers are specified for the contest march there is no limitation on the street march. If in fours, it is quite common to find a bass in the front row with the the troms, or one on each flank if marching in 5s.

    The most unusual formation I can recall seeing - and this was when we lived in Windsor in the 1960s - was an RAF band which marched with the clarinets in the front rank.
  4. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Get into a square to start with and rejoin the rest of the band at the bottom of the road.
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    A pub, Surrey, UK
    I think it depends on what you are trying to achieve. The thing to remember is that you don't get any points for how good you 'sound' on the march. The deportment prizes are awarded for how good you 'look'.

    Consequently, many bands who think they are in with a chance of a deportment prize (good marching drill, smart (properly fitting!) uniforms, caps (no long hair!), Drum-Major with a mace, etc., etc.,) will often put the troms. in the front (in the process often carrying a 4th trom. just for the marches - just so it looks balanced.), because it creates a more dramatic visual effect.

    On the other hand, if a band realises it has no realistic chance of getting a deportment prize, but cares about the quality of sound on the march, then they will often put the Basses on the front row, and put the troms further back; as Peter says, this helps absorb some of the trom 'edge' (sorry, 'sound';) ). and creates a more balanced band sound.

    My (admittedly) 'hazy' recollections from the one year I went to the Whits as a spectator was that it seemed to be mainly the 'top' bands who marched with Basses in front, but I can't be sure of this.
  6. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    the best formation can be achieved if you give everyone loud and clear 5 minute and 2 minute warnings in each pub, especially those who play bass drum, conduct, or represent the entire front row of your marching formation.

    i can also highly recommend having a fitty (or fitties) in the middle of the band with such stunning "legs 11" appearance that the rest of the band is completely ignored, even though she refuses to even attempt walking in step ("in these boots!").
  7. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Yes that's the way BBSBB march at Whit Fridays - must be because they're a top band or more likely the fact that the bass trom has no marching coordination when he's out at the front so we put him with the rest of the troms behind the basses - at least he's got something to follow.
  8. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

    Erm....yes.....but you forgot the obligatory 'pint in hand' whilst playing the march down in order to qualify for the deportment prize? ....and the necessary 'badly arranged sight-read march' with irregular phrase lengths just to confuse those die hards?
  9. sunny_jimbob

    sunny_jimbob Member

    Hah, a man of some skill then! I've got no marching coordination wherever I am in the band. Even 30 yards off in front with the rest of the bones and the basses... (St Georges Day 2002)

    Having said that, I can march in step and everything if I'm playing oom pahs. Anything else, and it's the Lord Of The Dance (as identified in the Observer's Guide in Random Chat)

    And, on topic, I prefer the trombone line out in front, because I don't want the 'edge' muffling at all!
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