Your greatest fears will come to life when the Sound of North takes its music and moves to the field this fall.
The Columbus North High School marching band is taking an eerie approach to its 2017 show, “Within These Walls.”
With original pieces from marching band director Keith Burton and a familiar song from the 1979 musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” the 170-student marching band will transform the football field into Halloween fright.
“Imagine a haunted hotel like the Bates Hotel or the hotel in the movie ‘The Shining,’” Burton said. “Just creepy.”
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For the past two weeks, North band members have spent hours on the football field for their annual band camp, rehearsing the set and combining music with moves.
“The color guard and the winds will act as characters within those walls that will be coming to life,” Burton said. “We’re not sure what the end looks like yet because it hasn’t been written, but we’re off to a good start.”
A show like no other
This year, two seniors and one junior will lead the band as drum majors. With a combined eight years of experience in the Sound of North marching band, seniors Ciaran Hill and Joe Robinson, alongside junior Olivia Thomas, called this year’s show “one like no other.”
“My favorite part of this year’s show is the music,” Hill said. “It’s so exciting and recognizable.”
Throughout the past three years, Hill said the band has taken a dark approach to its shows.
Last year, Sound of North’s show, “Slither,” elicited images of snakes on the field. This year, with a show strictly about fears, Hill said Sound of North has the opportunity to take the same dark theme to the next level with even more drama.
Robinson said the show also tells a story, which is different than in previous years.
“It’s something the audience can sit there and watch, but there’s a definite story they can follow,” he said. “In that way, it can really touch the audience, and they can actually get something out of it.”
As the leaders of the group, the three drum majors must consistently remain on the same page with one another, which is where communication comes in handy.
Hill said their main role is to facilitate the band’s rehearsals and performances. While they are responsible for conducting the music, they also must ensure all logistics are in place so the band can perform at their best level.
“In the end, they’re the ones on the field being judged,” Hill said.
“We’re just here to make sure they can be as good as they can be.”
Robinson said it’s also a matter of serving as a role model for all members to look up to, whether they’re freshmen or seniors.
Thomas said she couldn’t agree more.
“Without leadership positions, everything would be chaotic,” Thomas said. “I’m excited to see how this band progresses and how we all work together as a team.”
Big steps to follow in
Sound of North is coming out of a big year after performing in the Presidential Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20 and qualifying for the state championship for the first time since 2012.
Those are big accomplishments to meet or exceed.
“So far, we’re off to a great start,” Burton said.
“We sound fantastic for this time of year, and we’re really happy musically where we are. They’re picking up on the movements really fast. If we keep working hard, we should be a really good performing group.”
Sophomore Claire Alderfer plays the sousaphone in the marching band. This season’s show will be the second she’s performed since joining Sound of North as a freshman.
“Band is a really great community,” Alderfer said. “And that’s why I love band so much. Everyone is there for each other, and everyone is involved. It’s not like sports where it’s competitive and you have to try out. Anyone and everyone can be a part of it.”
Before Alderfer goes out on the field, whether it be at a football game or a competition, she always reminds herself to breathe as nerves try to take over. But being in one place with the rest of the band eases her mind.
“We’re just each a part of this big thing and we all do it together,” she said. “That’s part of what makes it so great.”
Sound of North will unveil its set at the Columbus East — Columbus North football game at East High School, 230 S. Marr Road, on Aug. 25. The band also will perform at the first home football game Sept. 1 on the North field at 1400 25th St.
The band will kick off its competition season when it hosts its annual invitational at the high school Sept. 9, when Burton expects 18 to 25 bands from across the state to compete, including the Columbus East Olympian Spirit.
Between September and November, Sound of North will compete at area competitions at Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knobs and Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, then move into Bands of America and Indiana State School Music Association competitions.
Sept. 9: Sound of North Mid-States Invitational
Sept. 23: Floyd Central Invitational
Sept. 30: Ben Davis Invitational
Oct. 14: Indiana State School Music Association Regional marching competition
Oct. 20 and 21: Bands of America Indianapolis Super Regional
Oct. 28: Indiana State School Music Association Semistate competition
Nov. 4: Indiana State School Music Association State Finals
Nov. 9 to 11: Bands of America Grand National Championship