The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 4: War Chant

The football players smashed into one another with the force of semi trucks, the sounds of their collisions drowned out by the pervasive screaming of fans.  Hal’s own throaty screech was lost in the chaos.  He wasn’t particularly loud, and his voice had gotten stuck at some point during puberty in the odd limbo between the voice of a boy and the sonorous, crisp boom of an adult male, subjecting him to frequent voice cracks.  His scream crackled now, and he could have been mistaken for fourteen or fifteen were he not a member of the marching band.


His right arm burned from the motion accompanying the excerpt from Temptation, commonly referred to as “Stands T” by the band.  Although he hardly felt it, the faint sensation was enough to distract him in the game.  He wasn’t much invested in it anyway, caring more about the stand tunes and watching halftime than anything else.


Why don’t we play a short version of W?


War Chant, the second half of the Michigan traditional duo that begins with Temptation, was just as musically robust and hype.  For the cymbals, it was a near-constant motion of pumping the arms up and down, interspersed with deep knee bends, 180-degree jumps (and one 270-degree jump), the infamous back bend, and, at the very end, a complex pattern of partner crashes that could literally kill you if you forgot to duck.  It was the perfect complement to the knee torture of Temptation, though W (or “Dubs,” as many people called it) contained knee torture, as well.


It is a universal truth that, when it comes to T + W, you can’t have one without the other…yet, in the stands, there was one without the other.  Hal had always been deeply saddened by this, as he loved both T and W, although they were grueling, especially when you were forced to do it inside the band hall with a mask on.


He always imagined a stands version of W drawing from the first part of the song, which involved a relatively complicated crash rhythm for the cymbals that alternated with eight-count drum features.  He’d never said anything about this to the band director or the drum instructor, seeing as he was a freshie reserve fresh out of a yearlong hiatus (though it might as well have been a punishment for something Hal didn’t do).


He swallowed as the play ended with the opposing team gaining three yards and prayed Stands W would become a real occurrence.


Alias came to Earth from a distant planet roughly 80 years ago and has been inhabiting the United States ever since. Captured by authorities in 1959, Alias was entombed in Area 51 until escaping in 2019 and has been at large ever since. Nowadays, Alias seeks to integrate into human life and earn an English degree. Recent sightings indicate Alias is a member of the Michigan Marching Band.

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