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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Marching band to showcase giant Geneseo mural

  • The 2013 Geneseo High School marching band show features an artistic twist that ends with a giant mural of the city of Geneseo displayed on the football field.
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  • The 2013 Geneseo High School marching band show features an artistic twist that ends with a giant mural of the city of Geneseo displayed on the football field.
    "We started with the idea that we were going to perform Spanish music," said band director Steve Scherer.
    The 2013 show, titled "La Galeria Español," features Spanish-themed music including Ravel's "Bolero" and music from the opera "Carmen."
    "The music we're playing are things most people have heard but might not be able to name," said Scherer. "We want to play things that are attainable to the audience."
    With the music selected, Scherer knew the show needed a "visual element."
    "I had the opportunity to go on a European tour, and while there, I got to go to the National Art Gallery in London and the Louvre in Paris. I was overwhelmed observing the rich pieces of art on display," he said.
    Viewing art in Europe got Scherer thinking about the art community in Geneseo.
    "In Geneseo, we have the Geneseo Art League and a number of independent artists at work," he said. "As the marching band, we have exposure to the largest community audience through our half-time show at the football game."
    By putting the two together, Scherer said he wanted to "tie the music department in with visual arts and call attention to the fine arts community in Geneseo."
    For "La Galeria Español," marching band members "create a Spanish art gallery on the field," he said.
    "We have three enormous reproductions of actual works of art tied in with the theme of our show," he said.
    In addition, a giant 8-by-16 foot mural, depicting Geneseo is used in the show.
    The Geneseo mural was created at Smith Studio and Gallery by local artists David Smith, Dick Carlson, Sharon Michaelsen and Pauline Swanson.
    Divided into eight sections, members of the band "move the pieces randomly around the field" during the show, said Scherer.
    "The pieces don't seem associated, but at the last moment of the show, those eight pieces come together to assemble into one large mural," he said.
    "La Galeria Español" features a tale of a couple falling in love. The mural comes together behind the couple "and represents their happily ever after," explained Scherer.
    The giant Geneseo mural was inspired by the 1980 work "Sunday Morning in Geneseo, Illinois" by artist Ben Dennison.
    In that work, Geneseo is viewed looking north on State Street.
    As a twist, the mural used by the marching band shows a view of Geneseo starting at the high school and looking south on State Street.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We hope people understand the corelation with the other piece of art," said Scherer. "The quality of work, detail and creativity of this mural just completely exceeded my expectations.
    "We have the pieces of the mural in the band room, and the kids enjoy standing and looking at it and seeing the different buildings and things they recognize," he said. "We wanted a piece of art that deliberately didn't pertain to the 2013 marching show. We wanted something that was independent in theme and could still be enjoyed 20 years from now."
    Once the 2013 marching season is complete, the mural will be professionally photographed.
    "We plan to make sellable prints and use the image for T-shirts and such," said Scherer. Proceeds from the sale of the image's reproduction will go toward a charitable cause of the band students' choice.
    "They're still discussing where they'll use the money, but they know they want to do something meaningful," said Scherer.
    The original mural itself will be assembled and "hopefully permanently mounted somewhere at the school," he noted.
    The 2013 marching band has approximately 80 members and is under the direction of senior drum major Megan Roome and junior drum major Victoria Kellogg.
    In keeping with the "La Galeria Español" theme, all of the band's field commands and responses for 2013 are in Spanish.
    "It's been fun hearing the students use the latest Spanish phrase or word they've learned. It's a crossing between music and the arts and multi-culturalism," said Scherer.
    The Geneseo marching band will compete on Sept. 14 in Morton. The band will perform in exhibition at the Maple Leaf Classic marching contest in Geneseo on Sept. 28. The show will start at 4 p.m.

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