Director’s Feature-Paxton-Buckley-Loda
Filed under: — Dan Balash @ 12:01 am

Paxton-Buckley-Loda is the 4th Director’s Feature of the 2011 marching season.  PBL serves the communities of Paxton, Buckley, Loda, and Roberts.  PBL has an enrollment of 450 students.  Today, we talk with Tim Hess, director of bands at Paxton-Buckley-Loda.

Illinois Marching Online: What is your prior directing experience?

Tim Hess: I was a Marine Corps musician for almost 12 years and had the opportunity to conduct and rehearse different musical ensembles. After college I was Director of Bands at Atwood-Hammond for 2.5 years before assuming my current post at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School. I am currently in my 14th year as Director.


IMO: What is your 2011 show, and what are the musical selections?

TH: “Let We Forget – A Tribute to Our Greatest Generation.”

“America” Fantasy arr. Brad Pearson, Veterans Salute arr. Jay Dawson, Apple Tree (with anyone else but me) arr. James Christensen, Hymn to the Fallen arr. Michael Sweeney, Taps arr. Thomas Knox USMC, and Our National March arr.Jay Dawson.


IMO: How do you arrive at your shows and musical selections?

TH: This year, the inspiration for the show came from a concert we played at the National World War II museum in New Orleans. Touring the museum and observing the wealth of material sparked the idea. Of course, having served and currently serving as a military musician had a bit to do with the decision.


IMO: What are some things visually/musically to look for in your show?

TH: This show is a departure for us as we tell the story of a young couples experience during World War II. “America” serves as a musical backdrop for our Narrator/Service member to set the time period.  In Veterans Salute, our young man will visit the different Armed Forces recruiting stations to decide what branch to join. Our drill designer was excited to be able to form an anchor to represent the Navy and an airplane that will fly on the field for the Army Air Corps. In Apple Tree, our young man will meet his girlfriend and tell her to not sit under the Apple Tree till I come marching home. The guard staff has incorporated swing dancing and at the end of the tune will form an apple tree for our couple to experience their first kiss.  We will then recognize the POW/MIA’s with the John Williams Hymn to the Fallen followed by honoring those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom with the Thomas Knox version of Taps. Our drill designer selected a form for the end of the Hymn that will showcase the guard in a cross formation. For Taps, there will be no movement on the field except for the presentation of a folded flag to our hero’s girlfriend.  For the closer, we will lift the spirits of our audience with the arrangement of Stars and Stripes Forever. Then end of the show will feature a Phantom Regiment American Flag present from their 1976 show.


IMO: What is the instrumentation/guard breakdown for 2011? Is marching band volunteer or mandatory

TH: Marching Band is mandatory for all students in the band program. 1 Drum Major, 46 Winds, 13 Percussion, and 17 Guard.


IMO: What is your rehearsal schedule like for the season? Is band camp on campus, or do you go away?

TH: We have Tuesday night rehearsals during the summer leading to a two week band camp on campus. We then resume Tuesday nights until school begins. Once school starts, we run Tuesday nights for Guard and Percussion only and rehearse full band during the normal band class period.


IMO: What does your 2011 competition schedule look like?

TH: Watseka, Danville, Monticello, and Mahomet-Seymour.


IMO: Who is on your staff?

TH: Beth Nuss – Assistant Director. Charles Hess – Drill Design and Marching, Heidi Jones – Percussion. Zach Hilligoss – Guard, Justin Johnson – Guard, Andy Blum – Props Chairperson.


IMO: How big is the preferred size for your band? Why?

TH: Around 100 would be great to allow even more visual possibilities. Any larger, and resources would be very thin for a small school.


IMO: What are some of your favorite memories from the bands you have directed?

TH: When the band traveled to New Orleans last year, our kids toured and played a concert in the National World War II museum. We had spent months preparing World War II era and patriotic music for the concert and the reaction was overwhelming. The museum staff told us that most bands play “band music” and not World War II era music. For the kids to see WWII Veterans struggle to their feet , many being held by loved ones, for the playing of their service song is a priceless experience.  I am most proud of my students that have answered the call of duty serving our country in the military: Erica Anda, Paul Anderson, Will Luhrsen, Jedidiah Tabor – US Marines; Sable Moreu, Kim Winkelman, Kelly Williamson – US Air Force; Aubrey Carlson – Naval ROTC program at George Washington University; Adam Carlson – US Naval Academy, Jennifer Hess – US Army, and Ashley Ruder – USMC Delayed Entry Program (will enter upon graduation this year).


IMO: What are you most excited for this year?

TH: Telling the story of our greatest generation as best we can.


Illinois Marching Online thanks Mr. Hess for answering our questions, and wishes PBL the best of luck with the rest of their season.

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