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"Kristen Laine went back to the heartland-- to the America so many of us fly over without blinking an eye-- and uncovered ... a world where salvation and ambition and teenage angst collide in strange ways no outsider could ever understand, unless you read American Band." --Michael Bamberger, author of Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School Every fall, m "Kristen Laine went back to the heartland-- to the America so many of us fly over without blinking an eye-- and uncovered ... a world where salvation and ambition and teenage angst collide in strange ways no outsider could ever understand, unless you read American Band." --Michael Bamberger, author of Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School Every fall, marching bands take to the field in a uniquely American ritual. From the stands, it looks easy. You don’t see them sweat. For millions of kids, band is more than a show. It’s a rite of passage—a first foray into leadership and adult responsibility, and a chance to learn what it means to be part of a community. Nowhere is band more serious than at Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana, where the entire town is involved with the success of its defending state champion band, the Marching Minutemen. In the place where this tradition may have originated, in the city that became the band instrument capital of the world, band is a religion. But it’s not the only religion, as director Max Jones discovers. After four decades, Jones’s single-minded devotion to musical excellence has fallen out of step with a younger generation increasingly focused on personal salvation. In what his students do not know is his final season of directing, he has assembled his most ambitious show ever, for the strongest senior class he has ever directed. Amid conflicting notions of greatness, the band marches through a season that starts in hope and promise, progresses through uncertainty and disappointment, and ends, ultimately, in redemption. AMERICAN BAND is an unusually intimate chronicle of life, in all its triumph, disappointment, and drama, in the kind of community in which most of America lives. It is an especially timely portrait, capturing as it does the spirit of the heartland at a time of profound change. If you have ever been—or yearned to be—part of something bigger than yourself, you will be rooting for the kids whose voices fill this book.


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"Kristen Laine went back to the heartland-- to the America so many of us fly over without blinking an eye-- and uncovered ... a world where salvation and ambition and teenage angst collide in strange ways no outsider could ever understand, unless you read American Band." --Michael Bamberger, author of Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School Every fall, m "Kristen Laine went back to the heartland-- to the America so many of us fly over without blinking an eye-- and uncovered ... a world where salvation and ambition and teenage angst collide in strange ways no outsider could ever understand, unless you read American Band." --Michael Bamberger, author of Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School Every fall, marching bands take to the field in a uniquely American ritual. From the stands, it looks easy. You don’t see them sweat. For millions of kids, band is more than a show. It’s a rite of passage—a first foray into leadership and adult responsibility, and a chance to learn what it means to be part of a community. Nowhere is band more serious than at Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana, where the entire town is involved with the success of its defending state champion band, the Marching Minutemen. In the place where this tradition may have originated, in the city that became the band instrument capital of the world, band is a religion. But it’s not the only religion, as director Max Jones discovers. After four decades, Jones’s single-minded devotion to musical excellence has fallen out of step with a younger generation increasingly focused on personal salvation. In what his students do not know is his final season of directing, he has assembled his most ambitious show ever, for the strongest senior class he has ever directed. Amid conflicting notions of greatness, the band marches through a season that starts in hope and promise, progresses through uncertainty and disappointment, and ends, ultimately, in redemption. AMERICAN BAND is an unusually intimate chronicle of life, in all its triumph, disappointment, and drama, in the kind of community in which most of America lives. It is an especially timely portrait, capturing as it does the spirit of the heartland at a time of profound change. If you have ever been—or yearned to be—part of something bigger than yourself, you will be rooting for the kids whose voices fill this book.

30 review for American Band: Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katelin

    A few parts were great for nostalgia if you were a band kid but overall, not worth the read. Over 300 pages to get through 1 season and the personal problems the band director and some of the students were going through (example-1 chapter is dedicated to a student's struggle with religion and depression; nothing to do with band). A few parts were great for nostalgia if you were a band kid but overall, not worth the read. Over 300 pages to get through 1 season and the personal problems the band director and some of the students were going through (example-1 chapter is dedicated to a student's struggle with religion and depression; nothing to do with band).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aili

    Short version: it's like Friday Night Lights, only with marching band, not football. Kristen Laine follows the students and teachers of the Concord (Indiana) Marching Minutemen for a calendar year and uses their experience to discuss the current state of “middle America.” Long version: In theory, I love this book. I love sociological non-fiction and BOY HOWDY was I ever in marching band — a perfect fit! But the writing was overwrought and trite, and the band angle of this book left me cold (and bo Short version: it's like Friday Night Lights, only with marching band, not football. Kristen Laine follows the students and teachers of the Concord (Indiana) Marching Minutemen for a calendar year and uses their experience to discuss the current state of “middle America.” Long version: In theory, I love this book. I love sociological non-fiction and BOY HOWDY was I ever in marching band — a perfect fit! But the writing was overwrought and trite, and the band angle of this book left me cold (and bored, and even annoyed). Unexpectedly, it was the discussion of the students’ evangelical religion that kept me going. In fact, the completely unexpected discussion of teen experience with evangelical Christianity was the only thing that saved the book for me. Laine tries to tie her subjects’ experience to a greater middle-American fall-from-grace, mentioning the loss of skilled blue-collar jobs, white flight, and new (Hispanic) immigration to this particular area of Indiana, but I can't help but compare her to Buzz Bissinger, who covered the socioeconomic and racial issues in his chosen town (Odessa, Texas) with more good research and a lot more insight. Or maybe Laine just chose a boring topic; it’s hard to feel particularly enthralled with the lives of a bunch of teenagers who are white, middle- or upper-middle-class, make good or great grades, and have parents who fall all over themselves being involved in their children’s lives. (One major character is an exception: a freshman girl who represents the new Hispanic population moving into the area. But the author neglects to use this important window on a life to make any sort of larger point about racial and economic tensions in Indiana, historically and currently. Meanwhile the almost completely white band spends the year working on a show about the African roots of American music, including a piece where the students pretend to dance at a New Orleans-style funeral.) And the band stuff? Well... I already know about summer rehearsals, and Saturday rehearsals, and roll-step, and horns-to-the-box, and judges’ tapes, and GE scores. I know enough to critically compare the director (Max Jones)’s choices to those of my own high school band director, such that the seemingly dramatic outcomes of those choices seemed obvious. (Want a clean show? Don’t change the ending 5 days before the competition.) At times I found the author’s excitement cheesy and distracting; yeah, they WORK REAL HARD. Lots of people do. We did, in my high school band. Do they shit gold bricks? So for me, the saving grace of this book was religion. It's useful, when you have fled to a very blue state, to keep yourself up-to-date on how the rest of the country works — and works on its own internal logic. Apparently a whole lot of people in this country, very smart people, analytic people, are WAY INTO JESUS. And when you take that as the foundation of your world, all kinds of assumptions follow. Like that you might actually vote for someone else who loves Jesus (George W. Bush) over someone (like, say, John Kerry) with whom you seemingly have absolutely nothing in common. Of course I’m being overly simplistic. But I have absolutely no relationship with Jesus, and continue to work on not automatically fleeing those who do. Reading about smart kids, with whom I identify (they are in band AND they play Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, for gosh sakes), and trying to empathize with their struggles? That was truly enlightening.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky Clark

    I'm a sucker for marching band books. In fact, I'm writing one! I blogged about this book and there's a comment from the author on there ... http://beckyland.wordpress.com/2008/0... I was never in marching band. When I was a kid, I took the obligatory piano lessons from the scary neighbor lady. I wasn’t very inspired (or talented) and took every opportunity not to play the piano. My father played the piano, including a rollicking good Bumblebee Boogie, and we listened to all kinds of music when I w I'm a sucker for marching band books. In fact, I'm writing one! I blogged about this book and there's a comment from the author on there ... http://beckyland.wordpress.com/2008/0... I was never in marching band. When I was a kid, I took the obligatory piano lessons from the scary neighbor lady. I wasn’t very inspired (or talented) and took every opportunity not to play the piano. My father played the piano, including a rollicking good Bumblebee Boogie, and we listened to all kinds of music when I was growing up. In fact, I have an uncommonly clear memory of coming home from school to see my oldest siblings and my parents listening to the just released “Tommy” album by The Who. But as I write that, I’m wondering if it only happened in fuzzy BeckyLand because my parents were never there when I came home from school. They had to work to provide allowances to be frittered away on rock opera albums. Come to think of it, I don’t really recall attending school. Or having siblings. Or allowances. Other than that, it is a crystal clear memory. Imagine my surprise when all three of my kids picked up instruments and played most of them fairly well. (I can confirm this is a Real Memory because I live in the house where they practice.) Between them they play: piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, upright bass, trumpet, guitar, recorder, kazoo, pan flute and that thing shaped like the horn of some extinct animal like in the Ricola commercials. The one nearest and dearest to us is the tuba. Both boys march(ed) tuba in their high school band and because of their fantastic experiences, I became interested enough to use the marching band as the setting for my current young adult novel. Even though I knew a LOT about the Wonderful World of Band as a Band Mom (much like a pit bull hockey mom, but without all the creepy lipstick), I still wanted to do some research to get other perspectives. But guess what? There aren’t that many books about the high school band experience. I KNOW! But I found a really terrific one …. AMERICAN BAND – Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine. It’s a non-fiction chronicle of the lives of a group of kids in an Indiana marching band. Stefan Fatsis says, “It’s much more than the story of a season in the life of the most fanatical practitioners of this uniquely American ritual. Kristen Laine has produced a captivating portrait of what it’s like to be a teenager in middle America in the first part of the twenty-first century.” I found it riveting. I was sucked into the lives of these kids and I cried at the end. (I know, I know. I cried at the end of Shoot The Moon too. So sue me. At least this time I wasn’t a public spectacle.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    As a former high school band geek, I was inclined to like this book even before I read it. But even without this bias, I'd give "American Band" five stars. This books follows the Concord High Marching Minutemen, from tiny Elkheart, Indiana, as the Class of 2005 leads their peers to the state marching championship competition. There are times reading this book that you can't believe it's nonfiction--Laine does such a great job of capturing the drama, joy, and heartache of an incredible year in the As a former high school band geek, I was inclined to like this book even before I read it. But even without this bias, I'd give "American Band" five stars. This books follows the Concord High Marching Minutemen, from tiny Elkheart, Indiana, as the Class of 2005 leads their peers to the state marching championship competition. There are times reading this book that you can't believe it's nonfiction--Laine does such a great job of capturing the drama, joy, and heartache of an incredible year in the lives of some pretty incredible teenagers. I laughed AND cried at the ending! I loved that Laine tracks many different characters throughout her story: several kids with varying experiences within the band juggernaut, their director, Max, his staff, the band parents, the school superintendent. Each character was so fully drawn that I identified with all of them. I particularly liked Grant, the lead trumpeter and the one kid that everyone in the band looks up to, who experiences a major crisis of faith even as the band is helping him discover himself during his senior year. But my favorite character is Max, the teacher. I saw in Max both of my own high school band directors, their charisma and their ability to create unity among a highly disparate bunch of kids. I also saw myself as Laine described Max's early years, facing strong parent resistance simply because he was new, and struggling to negotiate the unique, intense relationship that fine arts teachers have with their students. And I also saw a man to be pitied, someone so consumed with creating champions that it becomes his family, his whole life. "What price victory?" Laine asks us through Max's character...and the answer isn't clear-cut at all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is a book about the Concord High School Band, where I did my student teaching. The author was going for "immersive journalism," as I believe she calls it, which meant she was basically embedded with the band during the marching season after my semester of student teaching. On a personal level, it was endlessly engaging for me to read about the students I taught, the teachers I worked with, and the city in which I grew up. the book does a great job of telling the history not only of Max Jone This is a book about the Concord High School Band, where I did my student teaching. The author was going for "immersive journalism," as I believe she calls it, which meant she was basically embedded with the band during the marching season after my semester of student teaching. On a personal level, it was endlessly engaging for me to read about the students I taught, the teachers I worked with, and the city in which I grew up. the book does a great job of telling the history not only of Max Jones and the Concord band probram but also of Elkhart, formerly the "band instrument capital of the world." She also captures the spirit of the Concord band and what makes it so great. I was confused, though, by the fact that the author felt a need to dramatize the subject by going so much into the personal lives of the people involved. I know that some of these details help to understand the motivations of those involved in the program, but sometimes they seemed artificial, as if invented or elaborated to add plot and drama and make a linear "story." I'm not sure where she drew the line between fact and fiction. I believe there was one line like "Grant thrilled at the sensation of her slight frame pressing into his stocky German body." I mean, come on. It's not a romance novel or the O.C. I guess I was hoping for more of an objective, documentary-style book on the phenomenon of Indiana marching bands and Concord in particular. That said, the book does a great job of capturing the context of the school and community that made such an incredible band possible, and how the students lives are changed for the better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy McC

    I waited a long time for this book to come in to my library. As a former "bandie", I was looking forward to reading about the events in the year of a championship band. I was sadly disappointed. While Ms. Laine, did a great job of immersing herself into the life of this band, the book was more about the spiritual journeys of many of the band's student leaders. I have nothing against books about spiritual journeys, but I prefer them not to be touted as a book about a high school band. Admittedly, I waited a long time for this book to come in to my library. As a former "bandie", I was looking forward to reading about the events in the year of a championship band. I was sadly disappointed. While Ms. Laine, did a great job of immersing herself into the life of this band, the book was more about the spiritual journeys of many of the band's student leaders. I have nothing against books about spiritual journeys, but I prefer them not to be touted as a book about a high school band. Admittedly, the sections of the book that dealt with the practices, demands, and highs/lows of an outstanding HS band, did capture the essence of the experience. But, because of the tangental inclusion of events outside the band, she misses the impact of life long friendships, the memories, and complete love of band that many band students carry with them after they put away their instruments. Best quotation, "There were the subtler, more complex lessons involving what it means to feel joy, to feel pride, to care. The show waasn't any of the competitions or field shows; the show was literally the show of their lives."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    An interesting look at the culture of contemporary middle America, revolving around the marching band at an Indiana high school. The "characters" are well-drawn, and Laine does a good job of choosing her subjects, and giving each enough time to feel like you've really gotten to know them, and have a sense of how they've changed between the beginning and the end of the book. Laine ties up the story of the band in a discussion of the changing culture in the American Midwest -- the rise of evangelic An interesting look at the culture of contemporary middle America, revolving around the marching band at an Indiana high school. The "characters" are well-drawn, and Laine does a good job of choosing her subjects, and giving each enough time to feel like you've really gotten to know them, and have a sense of how they've changed between the beginning and the end of the book. Laine ties up the story of the band in a discussion of the changing culture in the American Midwest -- the rise of evangelical Christianity, the generation gap, the general sense that a young person has to leave their hometown, or even home state, to truly make it -- and on the whole, she's deft at juggling these various themes. Some early sections about the history of marching band culture dragged a little, but I never got bored to the point I didn't look forward to picking up the book again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I had hoped that this would bring back more memories of marching band than it did. I think that there were some similar experiences described, but, all in all, life in this midwestern suburb is a lot different than I remember in Medina. The open and blatant display of the evangelical christianity in a public school activity was foreign and, frankly, a bit shocking. The fact that it came from the kids didn't seem like a valid excuse. I also think that the level of musicality and marching that thi I had hoped that this would bring back more memories of marching band than it did. I think that there were some similar experiences described, but, all in all, life in this midwestern suburb is a lot different than I remember in Medina. The open and blatant display of the evangelical christianity in a public school activity was foreign and, frankly, a bit shocking. The fact that it came from the kids didn't seem like a valid excuse. I also think that the level of musicality and marching that this book describes is lightyears beyond what I experienced in Medina. Maybe it is the fact that this is 30 years later, maybe this is the difference between Indiana marching and upstate NY marching? The writing was not great. I found the story confusing with way to many details often brought into a section that didn't help to understand the point.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cat.

    Calling all Marching Band Geeks! If you had a band director like the one I had in high school, this book will bring it all back: the practices, the shouted commands from above to "START OVER--THAT WAS AWFUL!", the exhaustion, the all-weather marching...the pride when things come together at competition. This book follows the Concord (IN) Minutemen as a group and as 5 or 6 individual members. It's really fascinating to see all the different strands of the season weave together. There's also an awf Calling all Marching Band Geeks! If you had a band director like the one I had in high school, this book will bring it all back: the practices, the shouted commands from above to "START OVER--THAT WAS AWFUL!", the exhaustion, the all-weather marching...the pride when things come together at competition. This book follows the Concord (IN) Minutemen as a group and as 5 or 6 individual members. It's really fascinating to see all the different strands of the season weave together. There's also an awful lot of church-related stuff that I could certainly relate to, but the focus rarely wavers on the question of what makes a leader in a group. Is the most important member the teacher, the popular kid, the hard-working quiet kid, the one who doesn't pull it all together until the week before the end of the season? Good book. Highly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    First let me say WOW. Incredible detail and research. The author totally immersed herself in this high school, band and community to get an amazing depth of story. Basic background, high school marching band, highly competitive leader coming in to his last year, senior class coming in off a first place state win as juniors, changing demographics of suburban/rural America to be less affluent and less white... Lots of pieces and the author does an amazing job with it all, focusing on a few stand o First let me say WOW. Incredible detail and research. The author totally immersed herself in this high school, band and community to get an amazing depth of story. Basic background, high school marching band, highly competitive leader coming in to his last year, senior class coming in off a first place state win as juniors, changing demographics of suburban/rural America to be less affluent and less white... Lots of pieces and the author does an amazing job with it all, focusing on a few stand outs and not just from the senior class. She includes underclassmen and students' families. It's definitely non-fiction in that I learned a lot and some felt a little like a textbook but I fully engaged in the lives of these kids and their families.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    This book had an ending I didn't see coming -- and that had nothing to do with a band performance. It was engaging, probably most because I marched in high school and so much of what these kids were going through brought vivid flashbacks of my own experience. The author followed Concord High School's band during its 2005 season, and for a journalist, she did a great job of immersing herself with her subject material. I jus wish it could have been written a little tighter - I think I would have h This book had an ending I didn't see coming -- and that had nothing to do with a band performance. It was engaging, probably most because I marched in high school and so much of what these kids were going through brought vivid flashbacks of my own experience. The author followed Concord High School's band during its 2005 season, and for a journalist, she did a great job of immersing herself with her subject material. I jus wish it could have been written a little tighter - I think I would have had higher praise for the novel if it had. Recommended for: Anyone who has ever spent any time holding an instrument while trying to march across a football field.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Adams

    This book really took me back to my high school band days. It's full of wonderful, talented high school students who comprise one of the most storied marching bands (with THE most storied band director) in Indiana history. I WAS one of those band geeks once, even thought it's been a while. For people who don't know how much passion and work goes into a season of marching band, this book does a great job of telling the story. It's well written, with some imagery that gave me pangs of nostalgia. A This book really took me back to my high school band days. It's full of wonderful, talented high school students who comprise one of the most storied marching bands (with THE most storied band director) in Indiana history. I WAS one of those band geeks once, even thought it's been a while. For people who don't know how much passion and work goes into a season of marching band, this book does a great job of telling the story. It's well written, with some imagery that gave me pangs of nostalgia. AND, I know one of the major players in the story. It was just the spot of uplifting Midwest-ness that I needed to cap off this long, hot summer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    I'd say 3.5 stars, really. The first half of the book was interesting because of its insight into high school marching bands--how they work, what they strive for, and so on. As a HS teacher, that was very enlightening especially re: student-centered leadership. The second half, for me, was more about the personalities of individuals in the band. This led to a bit of a lack of coherence across the whole narrative. By the end, I didn't really care how the band performed at states, but I did care a I'd say 3.5 stars, really. The first half of the book was interesting because of its insight into high school marching bands--how they work, what they strive for, and so on. As a HS teacher, that was very enlightening especially re: student-centered leadership. The second half, for me, was more about the personalities of individuals in the band. This led to a bit of a lack of coherence across the whole narrative. By the end, I didn't really care how the band performed at states, but I did care about issues in the students' families.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I loved how this book appealed to my band-geekiness and my faith at the same time. I participate in Indiana State Fair Band Day, so I was fascinated to learn the history of the bands I compete with. I even recognized some of the names mentioned! But unexpectedly the book had a very deep turn. I became more involved in the story of the personal growth of the band members than the competition! I didn't anticipate this depth in the least. I laughed and cried while reading this, but it was well wort I loved how this book appealed to my band-geekiness and my faith at the same time. I participate in Indiana State Fair Band Day, so I was fascinated to learn the history of the bands I compete with. I even recognized some of the names mentioned! But unexpectedly the book had a very deep turn. I became more involved in the story of the personal growth of the band members than the competition! I didn't anticipate this depth in the least. I laughed and cried while reading this, but it was well worth reading.v All of you band geeks, read on:)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    This book is a definite must read for any person who teaches, works with high school students, has been in the performing arts, or enjoys music. Seriously, this book isn't just for marching band kids/adults. This book should be required for everyone to read. I have never found a book so relatable for growing up and this is entirely true as many of the individuals still work at Concord and with their music department. I've competed against Concord since I was a freshman and they are truly a fanta This book is a definite must read for any person who teaches, works with high school students, has been in the performing arts, or enjoys music. Seriously, this book isn't just for marching band kids/adults. This book should be required for everyone to read. I have never found a book so relatable for growing up and this is entirely true as many of the individuals still work at Concord and with their music department. I've competed against Concord since I was a freshman and they are truly a fantastic group.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie

    There's something about reading about a group of people in search of a goal, whether it's a Band of Brothers from WWII or 3 Days in August about the St. Louis Cardinals or the story of a competitive marching band near Elkhart and Goshen, Indiana. Kristen Laine wove individual stories together with the overall drama of a culminating performance at the Indiana Dome and shares lessons about teambuilding, team work, motivation and personal triumphs and tragedies along the way. There's something about reading about a group of people in search of a goal, whether it's a Band of Brothers from WWII or 3 Days in August about the St. Louis Cardinals or the story of a competitive marching band near Elkhart and Goshen, Indiana. Kristen Laine wove individual stories together with the overall drama of a culminating performance at the Indiana Dome and shares lessons about teambuilding, team work, motivation and personal triumphs and tragedies along the way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Wow. This was an enlightening look into a different world. I was in marching bands in high school and college, but what we did is an entirely different kind and style. Bands just don't do that here. Despite that, I related to the kids - many were very much like students I have meet. I loved the discussions of leadership, winning and loosing. I almost wanted to be back in high school so I could particiapte. Almost. Wow. This was an enlightening look into a different world. I was in marching bands in high school and college, but what we did is an entirely different kind and style. Bands just don't do that here. Despite that, I related to the kids - many were very much like students I have meet. I loved the discussions of leadership, winning and loosing. I almost wanted to be back in high school so I could particiapte. Almost.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diana180

    #hardback Well-reported tale of a year in the life of an award winning high school marching band. It takes place in the northern Bible Belt and the students' spiritual twists and turns are well described. Explains the fate of the midwestern band instrument industry as well. Goes well with: Absolutely American by David Lipsky and Small Victories by Samuel Freedman, both of which are novelistic reporting with a class or year arc. #hardback Well-reported tale of a year in the life of an award winning high school marching band. It takes place in the northern Bible Belt and the students' spiritual twists and turns are well described. Explains the fate of the midwestern band instrument industry as well. Goes well with: Absolutely American by David Lipsky and Small Victories by Samuel Freedman, both of which are novelistic reporting with a class or year arc.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    As a former Concord Marching Minuteman, I enjoyed reading how accurate the author was about practices and performances. I felt like I was marching on the field again reading this book. I was really hoping for more of a documentary, but it was neat seeing the stories of the seniors, whom were freshman when I was a senior.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Kristen formed friendships with an unusual group to write this story. Coming from New Hampshire, many of whom she felt comfortable with where those either on the fringe or in an artsy, free spirit lifestyle. We certainly enjoyed having her in our presence during the writing of this book. Concord High School Band, Elkhart, IN was highlighted.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaite Stover

    This book was a fun read for me since I was in marching band as a teen, but I felt interest would be limited. I also thought the story was a bit drawn out, as if the author was reaching for material to put between two hard covers. I'd definitely give to teens with a love of music and who participate in band. Specialized interest only. This book was a fun read for me since I was in marching band as a teen, but I felt interest would be limited. I also thought the story was a bit drawn out, as if the author was reaching for material to put between two hard covers. I'd definitely give to teens with a love of music and who participate in band. Specialized interest only.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Great look into the world of competitive high school marching band, not only from the band director's viewpoint, but also from the viewpoints of students and parents. Book is a bit long, but the characters are well-developed. Very good read, not only for music teachers, but for everyone who works with young people. Great look into the world of competitive high school marching band, not only from the band director's viewpoint, but also from the viewpoints of students and parents. Book is a bit long, but the characters are well-developed. Very good read, not only for music teachers, but for everyone who works with young people.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    It starts awfully slowly, but that's just Laine weaving her threads -- by the end of the book, when she starts pulling them taut, you can't help but be affected. I've never seen a marching band I couldn't make fun of, but I still enjoyed "American Band." (Read for Bullz-Eye.com review) It starts awfully slowly, but that's just Laine weaving her threads -- by the end of the book, when she starts pulling them taut, you can't help but be affected. I've never seen a marching band I couldn't make fun of, but I still enjoyed "American Band." (Read for Bullz-Eye.com review)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fred Wilhelm

    Gets off to a slow start but definitely picks up. Follows an Indiana high school marching band through a year with all the personal drama and socio/political issues of the region and times mixed in. First novel from my Friend K. Laine.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really, really, really enjoyed this. Probably because I was once an overwrought band kid.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carey

    Seriously. If you are or were a band geek, especially of the marching band variety, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    So far, not too bad. A bit more religious than academic. I cared more about the inner workings of the band, not the religious fanaticism of its students

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    It really is like "Friday Night Lights" for marching band. They are both written in a similar style and arc. It really is like "Friday Night Lights" for marching band. They are both written in a similar style and arc.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Hard for a band geek like me not to love this book. I thought Laine was a little too fawning in her portrayal of these students and their band, but I couldn't help but smile as I read it. Hard for a band geek like me not to love this book. I thought Laine was a little too fawning in her portrayal of these students and their band, but I couldn't help but smile as I read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    just started. i hope this isn't a book about god. just started. i hope this isn't a book about god.

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