Football games mean thousands of fans, young and old, decked out in purple, cheering the Horned Frogs to another victory.Those thousands of fans in Amon Carter Stadium include the TCU Marching Band. The band has played the same tunes to pump up fans for decades – until now.
Trumpet player Andrew Fowler, junior instrumental music major, arranged some new, more contemporary pieces over the summer and presented them to Brian Youngblood, band associate director, during the band camp.
Youngblood said he told the band that anyone who wanted to try arranging music should go for it.
He said Fowler’s music looked good on paper, so he handed it out and had the band read it at summer band camp.
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Gene Puerling’s “One More Time Chuck Corea,” a piece often used by drum corps, were a couple of modern-era songs Fowler arranged, Youngblood said.
Fowler said his inspiration for the new shorts came from the monotony of playing the same tunes at every game and the lack of a modern sound. Although the music is arranged for all instruments, he said it has a jazz feel to sound particularly good when accompanied by trumpets.
“The TCU Band has been playing the same kind of stuff for about the last 40 or 50 years, and it was time for a change,” Fowler said. “I looked up some cool charts and just got to work on it.”
Fowler arranged music for marching shows during high school and currently writes material for his own bands. Youngblood said Fowler’s arranging abilities are highly developed for a college student.
“I think he’s got a pretty good handle on music-arranging,” Youngblood said, “and there are plenty of jobs out there for people who are good at that.”
Freshman music education major J.P. Wilson said arranging for large groups such as the 200-plus students in the Horned Frog Marching Band is difficult because of the different notes and sound qualities associated with various instruments.
“It’s hard to know the notes that each instrument can play well,” Wilson said.
Over the summer, Fowler toured the country with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, a Drum Corps International Group. Youngblood said the group requires top musical and physical abilities from its participants.
“That is an activity that is an elite level marching group,” Youngblood said. “It’s fairly physical and the demands for marching and playing are at the highest level in that group. Interestingly, a lot of our trumpet guys at TCU have been drum corps’ high-note trumpet guys.”
Fans at both the Baylor University and University of California, Davis, games received the music positively, Youngblood said.
“What will be great is for (Fowler) to come to a TCU game 20 years from now and see if we’re still playing them in the stands,” he said.