By GRACE LIU
The 2018-2019 theme for the Marching Trojan Regiment is “Know Thyself,” focusing on the music of David Bowie. UHS’ marching band themes have been unique in the past, from Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, to the music of Aaron Copland, to even a show called “Mash Up.” The process of choosing a theme, however, is not easy.
“There’s a team of people. We have a composer…technically the term would be ‘arranger,’” band teacher Mr. Corey Heddon said. “And that person has to check a lot of boxes.”
A lot of thought goes into choosing a theme, going beyond meeting basic criteria.
“The idea goes that we want to do something that will please their crowd, that will please the students, something that will be enjoyable enough for us to play for three months,” Heddon said. “And something that will fit well competitively. So sometimes those things have to be a little artistic, but also popular somehow.”
The passing of David Bowie in 2016 also greatly influenced this year’s choice of theme.
“I think when he [David Bowie] passed away unexpectedly, the level of artistry got pushed to the forefront,” Heddon said. “Everybody started looking back at his work and seeing that he was an amazing musician.”
Another reason for this year’s choice of a theme was because of David Bowie’s iconic personality and the vivid legacy he left behind for many.
“ He was a different individual, a different personality, and definitely found a way to be himself even though he was far different than what was typically accepted,” Heddon said. “You can tell he is very decent… There are ways to be different, there are ways to be a good human being.”
Ultimately, the choice for this year’s theme was meant to send a message regarding individuality and nonconformity. While honoring Bowie’s legacy and artistry, marching band students and audiences alike can learn the value of forging oneself while still retaining basic decency, a particularly important lesson for high schoolers, who often feel pressure to either conform or act out in order to be seen as an individual.
“You don’t have to be a negative person in order to be an individual,” Heddon said. “It’s okay to be whatever you are, as long as you’re a good person.”
Aside from the theme itself, Mr. Heddon’s favorite part of this year’s marching band is not just the art and music, but also his students.
“I have the best students ever… there was so much effort and commitment and cooperation,” Heddon said. “There was so much effort and commitment and cooperation, specifically this year… They’re so good, I love them dearly.”