The Liberty University Marching Band, “The Spirit of the Mountain,” will debut its 2012 field show, “Just The Way You Are,” at halftime of the Flames football home opener against Norfolk State on Saturday, Sept. 8. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
The band, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Kerr, began preparing for the show on Aug. 5 when the percussion and color guard sections held a week of training. The camp included teaching fundamentals of marching and led into work on the field show. The full band began practice on Aug. 13.
“We put in hundreds of hours of music arranging, drill writing, and routine designing,” said Kerr, director of bands at Liberty. “Plus, show theme, flag/silk designing and manufacturing, battery and front ensemble percussion arranging, guard and percussion camps, and band camp week, — and that’s all before the first day of classes.”
The show features tunes dealing with love and relationships, including “Cry Me A River” by Michael Buble, “L.O.V.E.” by Nat King Cole, “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (based on the collection “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights”), the hit song “Grenade” by Bruno Mars, “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel, and the title song, “Just The Way You Are,” made famous by both Bruno Mars and Billy Joel.
“The marching band staff starts meeting in February to determine the show music for the fall,” Kerr said. “We gather many ideas, and usually end up with approximately 10 show concepts. These are developed and eliminated, until we narrow to the show of our choosing. “
The band will be performing the first half of the show on Saturday; the complete show will be performed on Sept. 22 when Liberty plays Lehigh University.
Head field commander Shelby Hamrick said the theme is about “songs that bring people together.” Hamrick, a junior from Chesapeake, Va., is in her first year as head field commander after serving as associate field commander last year and a member of the band’s flute section in 2010.
Senior and mellophone section leader Kaitlin Dougherty understands the importance of making a good first impression this weekend.
“We really just want to make sure that this crowd gets a show,” she said. “We’re performing with excellence, and we want people to see how hard we work and how hard we practice the show.”
The band traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., last year, where they appeared in the Main Street Parade. It was the first time Liberty’s band had performed there. They also performed at Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Fla.
The band, which currently has 190 members, will travel with the football team to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to perform at halftime of Liberty’s game against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 27.
“This band is talented and shows great promise for an excellent season,” Kerr said. “This is a great band and a great experience. Don’t miss out.”