Ballou | Chicago Reader


Three miles from the White House, Ballou High School serves a Washington, D.C., neighborhood plagued by poverty, drugs, violence, and neglect. But every year dozens of students participate in the school’s nationally renowned marching band, rehearsing after school in unventilated classrooms and on weekends in the city streets. For this 2007 documentary, first-time director Michael Patrei interviews such celebrities as Colin Powell and Jesse Jackson, but their testimonials barely do justice to the band's tireless director, Darrell Watson, or his dedicated players, who make music on instruments held together with duct tape and still reach out to other needy communities. 87 min.


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