Kerrie Mitchell
July 30, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

American Band

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Kristen Laine
publisher
Gotham
genre
Nonfiction, Music

We gave it a B+

Indiana’s Concord Community High has a long tradition of elite marching bands, so of course the school’s Marching Minutemen hoped to repeat as state champions in 2004. In American Band, a moving look at their season, Kristen Laine pays attention to detail — she even marches in a parade at one point. She’s helped by some vivid personalities, like the band director who inspires and stifles his students and the trumpeter who struggles with his evangelical faith. What begins as a dizzying explanation of field drills and questionable music choices (picture white-bread Midwestern kids drumming African beats on a djembe) deepens into a rich account of growing up in the Bible Belt. B+

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