I was starting to go through the various Battles of the Bands and was wondering how I was going to outdo the ones I had already seen. I wanted to do a song with a winter theme, since today is the unofficial start of winter, and something that was more or less Christmasy, since we’re coming up on that magical holiday. The song I came up with was "Sleigh Ride," by the wonderful Leroy Anderson.

I wanted to put a different spin on this, so I chose two school bands to feature here…

Oconomowoc High School Wind Symphony, 2017

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin is west of Milwaukee. This features a young man named Drew playing the whip.

Longfellow Middle School Symphonic Band, 2015

I Ducked "Longfellow Middle School" and found six of them: Falls Church, Virginia; Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; LaCrosse, Wisconsin; Norman, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Berkeley, California. I’m not sure which one it is…

Just a personal note: It does my heart good to see such talented young people.

Anyway, those are your choices. Here are your instructions:

  1. Listen to the two songs.
  2. Decide which song you like the best.
  3. Vote for your favorite by leaving me a comment with your choice. If you feel like telling us why, feel free.
  4. Then, visit the other participants and vote in their Battles:

I will count the votes and announce the winner Next Thursday, December 8, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern time, so be sure and have your votes to me by then

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Oconomowoc high School and Longfellow Middle School!

19 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Sleigh Ride”

  1. John,

    Excellent choice to kick off December! I wanted so much to be able to give my vote to the first band with the young lad snapping the whip but the recording didn’t capture the cracking well for my ears and the cover was a bit too fast making the song seemed hurried instead of festive. However, band number 2 did a superb job and a close match to Leroy Anderson’s rendition which is a classic. Please give my vote to Longfellow Middle School Symphonic Band. Thanks for stopping by last week to participate in my BOTB, my friend. Have a magical Christmas season!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JOHN ~

    ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson is actually my #1 all-time favorite Christmas song. This would probably surprise those who already know that I am a dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore, send-yer-butt-to-hell-(yesterday!)-where-it-belongs… Christian. ;^D

    Yeah, Leroy’s ‘Sleigh Ride’… to me, that is literally synonymous with “Christmas”.

    Both recordings were very good. However the Longfellow Middle School Symphonic Band played the tune at a slightly slower pace – and more in sync with the Leroy Anderson original which I consider “literal perfection” – while the Oconomowoc High School Wind Symphony made it sound a bit more like a RACE than a leisurely, romantic ride.

    So, I gotta cast my BOTB “bote” for ‘Henry & his LONGFELLOW band’.

    Nevertheless, I feel compelled to add that had the whip in the Oconomowoc High School Wind Symphony been played by Julie “Catwoman” Newmar instead, I would have voted for Oconomowoc until it hurt… and then some!

    ~ D-FensDogG

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  3. I admit, I have a warm spot for Oconomowoc. We used to drive through there on the way up north from Chicagoland. Dad had a fairly direct back-roads route, that switched from highway 67 to county road P at Oconomowoc Lake. (Not to be confused with Lake Oconomowoc.)

    Nonetheless, this was a close one. My vote has to go to the middle school, since they easily held their own against a high school band.

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  4. This is great to see because it’s a fun song and not easy to have all the instruments gel. The timing was a bit slow on both but the first band picked up about halfway through the tune. I do like the boy with his whip…I wonder if Ann-Margret taught him a thing or 2…:)). The first band gets my vote.

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  5. Hi John – I loved the whip in the first one, but prefer the videoing of Longfellow … seeing the kids’ faces etc as they played. Great choices – thank you … Longfellow for me. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lee, you like “a guy with a whip”, eh?
      You sure had ME fooled! ;-)

      Hey, it’s 2022, so who am I to judge?

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (My pronouns are THEY and they — and please keep the uppercase and lowercase letters in mind when you speak to US and us.)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey, my friend, whatever you need to tell yourself is A-OK with me. We and we DON’T judge!!

          ~ D-FensDogG(s)

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I liked the high school band but it’s not fair to compare middle school to high school. I did like that little riff thing the middle school did and they sure are fantastic for their age. And a nice version, too. Hard to pick. My daughter is a band teacher in Marinette Wisconsin. Wisconsin big on school bands, I see. My daughter just led her band in the Appleton Christmas parade. Ha. I’ll send this to her.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. >>… My daughter just led her band in the Appleton Christmas parade.

      Ahhh, Appleton. The apple of… Wisconsin!
      Home of the JBS and the final resting place of my #1 favorite politician. (Sorry, Ron Paul, but you’ll NEVER be lower than 2nd place!)

      I was there once, in 2010, and was surprised (shocked is more like it) to find a pert-good Mexican restaurant in Appleton. I even ate there a second time! That was the last really major trip I took, and I don’t plan on taking any more… until that last one to my “Home”.

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Liked by 1 person

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