Marching band musicians face difficult challenge

To the editor:

May an experienced (long, long ago) teen-age bandsman inject some reality into the discussion over Lenox High School's decision to withdraw its unprepared troupe from public performance (Eagle, May 22).

On parade, the musicians must not only play the notes from the miniature sheet-music clamped to their instrument and maintain the beat. They must also — and simultaneously — keep an eye where their feet are headed, stay in line with the players on both sides and the one in front, watch out for signals from the drum major. And oh yes, keep the left foot synced with the downbeat. Being "out of step" is like, gross.

I know this from five years playing the snare drum (the busiest instrument on parade) and the trombone (many would say the most difficult). Folks, playing in place and performing on the march are about as comparable as holding a motionless horse's reins at rest versus goading the galloping beast to jump a fence. It takes months and months of practice and more than a little luck to get it right.

Bill Sexton, Pittsfield