The Graveyard: Marching Show Review


Jack Franklin and Emma Coons

For 25 years, The Houston Band was led under the direction of Jim Smith. However, after many years of service, Mr. Smith decided to pass down the job of Band Director to former assistant band director of The Houston Band, Matt Taylor. Although Mr. Taylor has been involved with the band at HHS for a few years now, there were definitely some changes that came along with a switch in leadership in the band. Below is an interview The Pony Express had with  Mr. Taylor about his new position, the 2016 marching show, and the future of The Houston Band. The interview has been edited for clarity.


(PE = The Pony Express; MT = Matt Taylor)


PE: Hey Mr. Taylor! How are you doing today?


MT: I’m good Jack. How about yourself?


PE: I’m great. Thanks for asking. I would like to ask you a few questions involving the details of this new chapter in The Houston Band. First, I would like to ask what is the title of the marching show this year?


MT: It’s called The Graveyard. The show runs about 7 minutes and includes many new marching elements that we have not previously seen.


PE: Such as?


MT: Well, we are doing a few new techniques such as a jazz run. The show is a pretty good mix of what we are used to from a Houston Band and some new elements in the marching activity.


PE: Where are you bringing the band this year to compete?


MT: We are competing at Arlington, Briarcrest, Paragould, and Bandmasters. We just came back from the Arlington Marching Invitational on Sept. 24. The band got 2nd place overall, 1st place for drum line, and 1st place for pit.


PE: You must be so proud of them!


MT: Oh, I am! I know they put their all into their performance. However, after looking back at the tapes of their performance, the kids and I know what we need to work on. The band is heading to Briarcrest this weekend (Oct. 1) and we are excited to show everyone the new additions.

PE: Have you seen a big change since taking over as the head band director?


MT: To be honest, not really. The kids are wonderful and everything is going really well.


PE:  Well it was nice catching up with you Mr. Taylor. See you in 4th period at 10:55 on the field.



We polled some willing students currently partaking in this marching show, asking them a few questions. Some wish to remain anonymous; however, some gave their names.


Share your feelings on this year’s marching show:


Anon: It’s darker than last years’ shows and I’m still adjusting to the change but overall I like it.

Tommy Cramer (Senior Baritone): I like that we’re trying something new.

Jermiah Tate (Junior Clarinet): Although the theme is pretty popular and used often, I do like the way we decided to present it. We used a theme many bands have used, but our way of using it was different and unique.


How is this year different from past years?


Liz Thorpe (Senior Mellophone): It’s much darker, but tells a story!

Tommy Cramer (Senior Baritone): I’d say it’s a bit more fun than my previous experiences with band.

Jermiah Tate (Junior Clarinet): This year is different because we no longer have Mr. Smith, but I feel like as a band we are handling it very well and so is Mr. Taylor. I can tell you we are prepared for this.

Keren Lee (Senior Flute): The style this year is drastically different.

Bella Choukalas (Senior Clarient): We have new energy and better vibes this year.

Anon: It is less for the crowd and more for the competitions


What is your favorite part about this show?


Anon: The difference in style of music from this show compared to previous years is my favorite part.

Liz Thorpe (Senior Mellophone): I enjoy the music the most.

Tommy Cramer (Senior Baritone): I really like when we spell out R.I.P.

Jermiah Tate (Junior Clarinet): My favorite parts are Scene 2 & 4. I love the drill and the music to them.

Keren Lee (Senior Flute): The music itself is my favorite part.

Dante Pye (Senior Bass Drum): The drum break is my favorite part.


What has been your favorite part about marching band so far?


Anon: I always love spending time with my section.

Liz Thorpe (Senior Mellophone): I’ve liked being able to lead as a senior.

Anon: I love contests and games. I guess I just love performing the show.

Tommy Cramer (Senior Baritone): I like spending time with my section.

Jermiah Tate (Clarinet): I like that this year we’ve been able to get work done and have a blast at the same time.

Keren Lee (Senior Flute): I’ve liked being able to bond with my section this year and lead as section leader.

Bella Choukalas (Senior Clarinet): I’ve enjoyed meeting new individuals.

Anon: The Harambe tombstone is my favorite.

Anon: I was really happy for him when Mr. Taylor passed his kidney stone.


How do you think our style has changed with the director change?


Anon: The new style we have this year is a good one. It’s a perfect blend of our old style and what the judges are looking for. I applaud Mr. Taylor for his hard work and I wish him good fortune in the years to come.

Anon: I feel this year we are more likely to win.

Anon: The style of marching is different, but many other things are the same.

Jermiah Tate (Junior Clarinet): With having a younger band director, our music is more trendy in the competitive marching band world.

Anon: Our new style with Mr. Taylor is more appealing at competitions.

Anon: We’re more focused.