A Marching Band Drum LineIn many schools there is at least one home football game left after the competitive part of the marching band season has concluded. Some band directors simply continue to play the same show that they have performed all year. Others tell the band to take the night off and enjoy the game with their friends in the stands. Here is a different idea, make your last performance of the season be one that the crowd will never forget!

Warning: Performing a show such as the one described below will likely become an INSTANT tradition. Once you do it you will probably be asked to do it again every year so make sure you are up to the task before trying it. On the positive side, this same show can take the public interest in your band program from luke-warm to scalding hot in one seven minute show!

Instead of playing the same old show one more time, make a change that everyone will notice. Turn off the lights! The idea of an annual marching band light show consists of doing a little fundraising in advance of the show, then purchasing a large quantity of wearable lights, glow sticks, and other flashing body objects to make the visual part of your production stand out much more than it normally would. As halftime begins the call comes out over the stadiums PA system: “Gentlemen, Turn Out The Lights!” As the stadium lights go off, the colors and designs on the field appear along with Oooos and Aaahhhhs from the crowd. Properly programmed with some good drill and music and the effect of doing your show in the dark is a guaranteed standing ovation for your hard working students. 

Creating Your Own Marching Band Halftime Spectacular!

Converting your marching band halftime show to a light show is not that difficult.  Check to make sure that your drill does not have any nasty moves in it with very close quarter pass throughs and the like.  Consider changing them if necessary, but more often than not any show can be performed in the dark without any modifications.  

Do some research on the Internet to find a company that will sell you glow sticks and other lights for a bulk discount. Try to find a company that deals only in such items and you often find much lower bulk prices.  A great web site for this is ExtremeGlow.com .  Once you have decided on a vendor, consider the following tips to get the biggest bang for your buck:

  • Order extra supplies and sell them as a fundraiser during the games prior to your light show. They are a great money maker with younger students and also help to promote the fact that your big night is coming up soon!
  • Each year consider purchasing at least one set of items that are not disposable such as flashing sun visors, necklaces, or other battery operated items that can be reused from year to year. The batteries should always be removed after the performance and stored. If you do it properly the batteries will last you at least two years and are available very cheap at the local dollar store.
  • After Christmas or Halloween go to the stores and look for clearance rope lights (the kind that are encased in a long flexible tube). String a few of these end to end and you can outline the fifty yard line or the front sideline.
  • Don't forget your percussionists and the pit. Long glow necklaces work great as visual eye candy when taped to the sticks or threaded through the rims.  Several vendors now sell light up drumsticks that flash when struck.  VERY COOL!
  • Don't forget your color guard! You can purchase clear plastic flag poles and fill them with glow ropes or flashing lights. You can even purchase industrial size glow sticks that are almost as big as a short pole and really catch peoples attention.

Doing a light show is a lot of work for your marching band, but the positive public relations bonanza and interest in your program make it all worth while.  Consider adding a light show to your schedule of performances next season.


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