Trombonists Wesley Simpson and Wes Parker met while performing on the 2002 BLAST! tour and formed a close friendship that would eventually lead to long lasting work relationship as staff members of the North Carolina State University Marching Band, widely known as “The Power Sound of the South.”
After their tour was complete, the two went their separate ways, but stayed in touch. Although, as luck would have it, in 2006 they met again at a DCI show. Parker had recently been named the Assistant Director of the NCSU marching band. He introduced Simpson to the Director of Bands, Dr. Paul Garcia and shortly thereafter, Simpson began writing drill for the band. Now, 17 years later, he is still designing drill for The Power Sound of the South.
“Working with the NC State Marching Band has been a wonderful experience. Their show designs have ranged from fun to serious, and from simple to complex. It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch the program grow as much as it has over the years,” Wesley said.
Around 2000, as an undergrad at Western Carolina University, Wesley was fortunate enough to have the exceptional, Bands of America Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Buckner, as his instructor for the “Marching Concepts” course. Bob has had an illustrious career designing and directing for some of the best marching bands in the country and earning his place in the most prestigious musical organizations in the marching arts activity. He has also served as a Pyware consultant since the software’s inception. His course concentrated on how to set up your visual design for success — from movement, space, time, staging, and effect. He first taught students how to chart by hand using graph paper before introducing them to Pyware 3D.
Bob worked one-on-one with Wesley, teaching him how to effectively use Pyware; his hands-on approach to teaching made a lasting impact on Wesley. He learned how to design by charting a line of performers in Pyware, Bob would then write an 8-count move, then Wesley would write an 8-count move. They took turns over and over.
“He was teaching me how to use Pyware, but the lessons in design were priceless. I believe that foundation, along with his teaching methods, really piqued my interest to take this further,” Wesley said.
Wesley now has 23 years of experience using Pyware.
“Pyware provides me the ability and forum to articulate my thoughts easily and quickly share those ideas with the people I work with. It’s incredibly intuitive and it only gets better year after year. Pyware gives me the tools and support that allows me to play my part in helping the marching band succeed.”
This season, Wesley designed one show with Pyware that was especially compelling, exciting, and extremely fun to watch. Multiple departments were involved to make this show so entertaining — the lighting department, video board, camera teams, and marketing.
The Super Mario show was one great highlight of their extraordinary season thus far.
Click the link for the full show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14-HII-CqIg
Performances such as this have inspired more and more student-musicians to join the band, currently totaling more than 300 performers. This incredible marching band has performed all over the world, including Ireland, Spain, France, and this season, they traveled to perform in Great Britain. The marching band is a beloved part of the NC State game day experience and represents the university splendidly wherever they go. They truly embody their nickname, The Power Sound of the South.