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Murray Journal

Murray High marching band to return after 25-year absence

Dec 01, 2016 04:23PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High School marching band, seen here in a 1936 yearbook photo, plans to reintroduce marching band in fall 2017. (Murray High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It’s 1991. Bryan Adams topped the pop chart with “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.” Movie-goers watched “Thelma and Louise,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Fisher King” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Gas cost $1.14 per gallon. 

And it was one of the last opportunities to watch Murray High School’s marching band take the field at halftime of a football game.

Until now.

Under the new director of bands Zach Giddings, the return of the marching band is slated to make its debut summer 2017.

“I had fun marching all throughout high school and college,” Giddings said. “I was in competitions where Murray High performed. Murray’s marching band was known for its stellar performances. They were the cleanest band in Utah. They were precise in their movements. Everything was exact, perfect. The band was well known. If we can get back out marching in parades and at the games, we’ll be more visible and can contribute more to our community.”

The former Murray High marching band originated in the 1930s and had about 35 members in the band as well as percussion and color guard.

The return of Murray High’s marching band is expected to begin in May as Giddings plans to have students start learning the music. In June, he plans to add in the formations, then in July march in community parades. After a five-day, 35-hour band camp in early August, he hopes the marching band will be practicing its football half-time shows. Once school begins, practices may be about five hours twice per week.

However, Giddings and the marching band will be beginning from scratch as there are only parts of marching band uniforms from days past, color guard flag poles without flags and no sousaphones, just marching French horns and baritones. So Giddings already has been filing grant applications and will look into fundraisers to get the program up and running again.

“We may just start out small in numbers wearing polos and khakis and play for football games in traditional marching band styles. It may take a couple years to get the program competitive, but realistically, these beginning years will help the players tremendously,” he said.

Giddings said he hopes the practices in the summer will not only help students learn how to march, but they will be practicing their instruments.

“Anytime students practice it will improve their playing, whether it’s pep band music or concert pieces. And learning how to move and play will take their ability as performers to another level,” he said.

Currently, the only opportunity for Murray High students to participate in a marching band is through Canyons School District’s program housed at Alta High School. While the school welcomes others to participate, Giddings said it is difficult for Murray students to get to the Sandy school after school. This year, only one student has made that commitment.

“I want to give more music opportunities for our students. I loved marching band and I want students to be inspired to see what they can do. Marching band offers so many opportunities from working as a team to meeting people who may become their best friends after spending hours practicing on the field. It’s just a blast,” he said.