Like everybody else, I’m still basking in the afterglow that was Honda BOTB 2020. While the iron’s still hot, I figure that this would be a good time for the 2nd installment of my Honda BOTB 2020 film breakdown series. The ‘Marching Force’ of Hampton University has the spotlight this week, so I’m pretty eager to sink my chops into this analysis. Bandheads that are in the know are aware of Dr. Thomas L. Jones Jr’s pedigree. His work with NCA&T’s band program in recent years is pretty well known, so the Marching Force’s appearance in this year’s Honda lineup had a certain degree of anticipation among savvy fans of the craft. That being said, let’s get started!

Evaluation Categories:

  1. Sound Quality
  2. Visual Uniformity
  3. Show Tempo
  4. Show Creativity
  5. General Overall Effect

PHASE 1: Show Introduction
I think I touched on this in the first edition of the Honda Film Breakdown, but it bears repeating; The really good halftime shows that I’ve seen over the years tell a good story to the audience watching them. The THEMED halftime show is the epitome of that ideal and the Marching Force came out of the gates with an absolutely GREAT storytelling start. The trombone solo and the individual/squad movements accompanying it going into the initial opening fanfare selection was pretty creative, giving the presentation a bit of a Blue Devils feel to it. We’ve seen a few bands (NCA&T and Norfolk State immediately come to mind) take the creative step of blending corps or DCI-style field show elements into show-style presentations. Dr. Jones is from this school of thought, so it wasn’t exactly surprising to see this creativity as part of the Marching Force’s identity, but it’s STILL really cool to see those concepts in action for audiences. Percussion feature was used to facilitate the transition of the band into the opening fanfare formation, which was pretty creative. HUGE sound for an ensemble of that size on the opening fanfare. Field utilization spanned from 10 yard-line to 10 yard-line, which was pretty extraordinary for a band that size. It definitely indicated a good deal of visual planning in terms of what the ensemble was supposed to appear.

PHASE 2: Main Course
There’s a lot to be said about announcers, and the impact they can have on the overall effect of a good halftime show. Hampton’s announcer was both effective and not-so-effective doing this at different periods of time during this show. Though this inconsistency didn’t negatively impact the show’s incredibly good tempo it did take away from the story-telling element of the show a bit for some periods of it. Sound quality throughout this portion of the show (and throughout the show in general) was pretty crisp; There was some slight thinning from upper brass at times during the drill and the concert numbers, but it wasn’t detrimental enough to take away from the show’s quality. The integration of auxiliary throughout the show was pretty effective. The tempo never really waivered, which is really what you want in order for a halftime show to maintain its’ continuity. The concert number “A Dream” sounded great; No section really got out of pocket or tried to overcompensate for the sake of sound projection. It was a good showing for an ensemble that’s got a pretty good musical concept that can be built on.

PHASE 3: Show Conclusion
The dance routine itself was pretty standard fare; Very well executed and the energy level was consistent all the way through. While the dance routine was good, the DCI-Style single line closer was GREAT! It was in keeping with the Wakanda theme of the show, and extremely well executed. Not surprisingly, this is becoming a signature of show concepts touched by Dr. Jones’ directorial pen. Adding the traditional HU fanfare at the very end of the show was also a nice, detail-oriented touch.

Hampton’s return to the dome was a successful one, with the Marching Force putting on one of the more creative and best-executed shows of the entire event. Who says the art of the themed halftime show is dead? If their performance is any indication of the future of the program, The Marching Force is going to be around pushing the creative envelope for a long time.

I guess the Battle Of The Bay is back on, Huh? 😉

Scaled to 10:

  1. Sound Quality: 8.5/10
  2. Visual Uniformity: 9/10
  3. Show Tempo: 9/10
  4. Show Creativity: 9/10
  5. General Overall Effect: 8.5/10

Total Possible Points: 50Total Points Accrued: 44

That’s it for this edition of VFTS! The next Honda BOTB film Breakdown will feature the incomparable Marching 100 of Florida A&M University. Stay Tuned! 😉

Article courtesy of halftimeglory.com

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