We know Beyoncé was incredibly hands-on during the planning stages of her Homecoming performance. Hand-sewn patches? Couldn’t she have just outsourced to her (alleged) Ivy Park sweatshop? Nonetheless, Bey hand-picked her all-black orchestra with the same care. According to NPR, her performance included more than 200 artists — from dancers to creative directors — but she considered the orchestra “the heartbeat of the show.”
“I wanted a black orchestra,” she said in the film (via NPR). “I wanted the steppers. I needed different characters, I didn’t want us all doing the same thing. And the amount of swag is just limitless. Like, the things that these young people can do with their bodies and the music they can play … it’s just not right. It’s just so much damn swag.”
According to the New York Times, casting the sheer amount of swag needed for the performance was near-impossible in LA. Instead, Don Roberts (the consultant from Nick Cannon’s famed Drumline) flew talent in from Atlanta. Surprisingly enough, Bey also allowed her talent some creative input. In one instance, trombonist Wayne Westley recalled the star asking the marching band to incorporate the classic fight song “We Ready” after they started messing around with the tune during a water break.
“She just looked up and was like, ‘I like that, I love that, Can we add it to the show?’ We did that maybe four weeks before the show,” he told NPR.