The YPMB Junta
The Yale Band has long adhered to the doctrine that our repertoire should reflect the diverse tastes of the audience, all the while pushing the envelope of what is deemed “acceptable” for a marching band to play. We run the gamut of genres, from Hip Hop to Techno, Pop to R&B, and, of course, plenty of straight Rock. It would be hard to find an ensemble where Zepellin, Sean Paul, and Ace of Base are all appreciated for their respective musical merits. Hell, we even played “Tubthumping” at one point, and may God have mercy on our souls.
Where do we get all this music?
Well, one time we kidnapped Dr. Dre and forced him to arrange “California Love” at gunpoint. And we did send a couple of K’s to Axl Rose for the rights to “November Rain.” We even stooped to the level of promising Bono we’d donate time and money to UNICEF if only he’d let us play “Vertigo”.
All kidding aside, our music comes from the YPMB Junta, Yale’s own syndicate of arranger-transcribers. These dedicated and talented folks manage to add more than 30 pieces to the YPMB music library every year. Although we’re prolific, most of us had never arranged before we came to Yale. You need no experience, you need no knowledge of music theory; you’ll learn it as you begin arranging. It’s really easy to write for the marching band, especially since most pop music uses just three chords anyway. (Blink 182, anyone?)
Indeed, arranging is one of the most fun and rewarding things you can do within the band.