Tempus: The Time is Now


Joie Warnke, Reporter

In Latin, tempus directly translates to the word “time”. What better time to talk about the John Adams Marching Band show than right now? Each year, the marching band, along with other high school bands across the area, develop new themes and a “show” to put on for the audience at football games and competitions. A marching band show is supposed to tell a story through the music and the forms made on the field by the participants. That is exactly what Tempus accomplishes, as it includes four different pieces that represent the four different seasons. This year is such an exciting year for the band because of the drastic increase in passion along with explosive amounts of new members. With over ninety members this year, Tempus is a show unlike any performances by John Adams bands in years prior.  As a section leader of the saxophones, I am excited to share with you all about our show this year and what it entails. 

Tempus is divided into four movements or four different pieces. The first movement is titled “Summer”. The bright melodies and excitement that the song conveys to the audience definitely contributes to the theme of Summer. Such themes can be seen by the forms that are made on the field by the band members. At the beginning of the show, the synthesizer creates the effect of a clock ticking, and the drumline also contributes to this effect by clicking their sticks rhythmically. During a certain part of the song, half of the band exhibits a technique called jazz running: gliding on the platforms of their feet while running. A group of individuals jazz run in a circle for a certain amount of time which represents ring-around-the-rosie and the playfulness of Summer. To finish the movement, band members form a sun on the field, which is obviously a key point to the theme of Summer. 

The second movement of the show is titled “Autumn”. This movement has a dark and mysterious feeling. Minor melodies are included which gives an almost eerie sense to the audience. Movement two is the shortest of the four, which is common with marching shows. While this segment is quite short, choreography plays an important role in the piece. The brass instruments do a dance with each other, while the color guard performs their own dance. Both include many arm reaches and slow body movements, which overall contributes to the darker tones of this part of the show. 

The third movement of Tempus is titled “Winter (Destruction)”. This section is all about clashing tones, and is a build up to the climax of the show. There are some really powerful parts in this piece; parts that just send chills down the audience’s spine and goosebumps up their arms. Once again, choreography plays an important role. Members on both sides of the field turn in towards each other, as if struggling against each other. An interesting aspect about the music side of this segment is that the Game of Thrones theme is used throughout, which is very fitting since Winter is the theme of the movement. 

Continuing on, the last formation of the movement is a diamond that all band members are a part of, and at the very last moment, the synthesizer creates the effect of a clock smashing into thousands of pieces. As this is happening, all members on the field fall to the ground, as if they have just been hurt by the explosion of time. The beginning of the fourth movement depicts all the members recovering from this explosion. This segment of the show is titled “Spring (Rebirth)”. Melodies from “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles are utilized throughout this part of the show. Movement four is all about looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and looking for a new beginning, and the usage of this Beatles song really adds to that idea. There are also intricate formations that are demonstrated by the band. Many precise boxes and straight lines can be observed throughout this movement, which are viewed as an advanced task for any marching band. The show then ends on a very powerful note, and doesn’t fail to send endless chills down the audience’s spine once again. 

So many individuals are extremely excited for Tempus this year, and it proves to be an extremely meaningful and interesting show. Drum major, Kenny Brown, is especially enthusiastic about Tempus. He says, “Since band camp started, I was worried that having forty freshmen was going to be rough. But our freshmen have caught on to how we do things around the band. They have learned most of their music in record timing. I believe this show is going to be the one that takes us to state!” Kenny is obviously very proud of what the band has accomplished thus far and how much work has been contributed to make the entire show come together. 

The John Adams Marching Band has already taken this exciting show to competition and two football games. The band performed at the Goshen Invitational at Goshen High School on September 8th and earned a third place trophy! There are only three competitions left for the marching band season:

  • September 24th at Penn High School 
  • October 1st at Plymouth High School
  • October 8th at Plymouth High School

Come out to a competition and support the band! Now that you know all about the fascinating show, come and watch it happen in action. We would love to see you there!