Sounds of the Fall: Area bands get tuned up for performances


During home football games this fall, the Seymour High School Marching Owls plan to portray “A Winning Owlitude.”

With songs like “Confident,” “Under Pressure,” “Focus” and “Victorious,” the band will open its season on a positive note and carry on with that theme.

At Brownstown Central High School’s home football games, the Band of Braves will pay homage to musicians who have died within the past year.

Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” will be the opener all season, while the Eagles’ “Desperado” will be the closer. Songs from Prince and David Bowie also will be heard at Braves games this fall.

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Marching Owls

Seymour band director Kevin Cottrill said one of his assistants, Debbie Carroll, came up with this year’s concept.

“Currently, there is a positive buzz around our football program. They ended last season on a roll and look to continue that momentum,” Cottrill said.

“The Marching Owls are a vital part of our home football experience,” he said. “If you close your eyes at a home game, we’d be the soundtrack. We have a very special relationship with the fans, cheerleaders, student section and community. We picked music for the first show that could capture that energy and enthusiasm.”

While music will change for subsequent games, the “Owlitude” theme will stick around for a while, Cottrill said.

“The Marching Owls want to be the most entertaining band in southern Indiana,” he said. “We want to add excitement and high-quality music performance and marching execution to the entire football experience. We do this all night from our pregame concert, pregame, in the stands, halftime performance and after the game.”

The band’s drum majors, seniors Hallie Crenshaw and Skyler Cash and junior Sergio Galicia, all said they are excited to see 220-plus members of the band present the first halftime show Aug. 26.

Current songs from Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and Panic! at the Disco will blend with a hit from Queen.

“I like the pop music. I think the crowd will really be able to get into it more since it’s songs that they’ll know,” Crenshaw said.

“In past years, there have been some songs where some sections maybe didn’t have the most exciting part in the world, and I’ve been there definitely a few times,” Cash said. “But this year, all of the songs really want to groove, and even if it’s repetitive, it’s still a blast to play them.”

People in the stands being familiar with the music the band is playing will be a plus, Galicia said.

“If it’s new or if it’s the old Queen tune, I think most people actually know it instead of some songs that we used to do, some people really didn’t know what it was,” he said. “This year, I think everybody is going to know the songs. … If more people get into it, it’s a lot better.”

This year’s band features nearly 100 new members, with a majority of them being freshmen. In June, all new members learned about marching during a fundamentals class.

“It is easy to learn initially but harder to perfect,” Cottrill said of marching. “We’ve had very productive and positive rehearsals throughout. We knew that we had a huge and talented class coming in. They have been awesome to work with, hard-working and fun.”

All of the members recently attended a weeklong band camp, putting all of the marching and music together.

“Our new members have made wonderful progress over the summer months and during band camp. They have been able to blend in with our veteran members quite well,” Cottrill said. “Our leadership comes from our staff, drum majors, section leaders and returning members. We have a tradition of excellence that we ask all of our members to embrace and work to improve.”

Cottrill said he’s ready to see the band perform.

“I am looking forward to our students’ growth as young adults and musicians,” he said. “Our students rise to the occasion with every performance opportunity, and that is inspiring to me. Working with young adults is an honor and a privilege. It will also be awesome to be the leader of a group of 220 students that come together to help make our school community even better.”

Leading a group of that size takes a lot of planning and help, Cottrill said. Fortunately, he has Carroll, Ellen Mirer and new assistant director Kyle Lutes along with the drum majors, section leaders and band booster organization to help make it all happen. Plus, there is school and community support.

“We simply couldn’t accomplish nearly as much without them,” Cottrill said.

Band of Braves

Richard Branaman, director of bands at Brownstown Central, said the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Maurice White from Earth, Wind and Fire and Glenn Frey from the Eagles served as an inspiration for this year’s theme.

“We’ve lost a lot of great artists in the past year,” he said. “We’ll be featuring their music throughout the season.”

“September” is an appropriate opener since a majority of the football games are played that month, and it’s also a recognizable song, Branaman said.

The band’s first performance Sept. 2 also will include “Already Gone” by the Eagles and “1999” by Prince. All of those numbers will feature the drill team. Then it will close with “Desperado.”

“Us older people who grew up with this music, it’s nice to hear those things come back,” Branaman said. “They’ve still been played. You still hear all of those songs on the radio, so it’s not like we’re bringing something that has completely disappeared. I think that they’ll be well-received.”

The drum majors, senior Suzzanna Kramer, junior Bailey Hughes and sophomore Alex Caffee, also think the tribute show will go over well.

“I didn’t really know ‘September’ until I really heard it, and then some of the counselors at (drum major) camp were just like, ‘Listen to the lyrics of the song, too, not just the instrumental part.’ Then I really got into it, and I really got into liking it, so it was fun,” Kramer said. “I’m really hoping that with the Prince music and the Earth, Wind and Fire that people really pick up and get excited about that, too.”

Hughes said it’s good to play recognizable music.

“We have ‘September,’ and when I went to drum major camp, I had so many people coming up to me and saying how awesome it is that we have that song,” she said. “I’m hoping that since this is a tribute to some of the people that have died that they’ll recognize that, and they might look it up and get into it a little bit more.”

Caffee said “September” is a really fun song to direct and sounds great, and the 42-member band and six drill team members are in the process of learning all of the other music.

During band camp this past week, the band also worked on music from the movie “Fame,” which it will play while marching onto the field before each home football game.

About a dozen freshmen are a part of the band.

“Most of them have really shown some good marching skills,” Branaman said. “We’ve spent a lot of time with marching this summer. What they haven’t spent a lot of time doing is marching and playing. The blessing of this year’s football schedule is that the first two games are away, so we don’t have to come out of band camp and turn right around and play our show for people.”

Hughes said the Band of Braves made progress during camp.

“We had the pregame taught basically in one day and reviewed it,” she said. “We had the opener taught in one day, and now, we almost have the closer taught in one day, so it has been going by really fast. We usually don’t get everything taught in one week, and we usually have to review so much on the football field, so everyone is doing really good.”

The drum majors all said they are excited about the band performing at games.

“This is the first year that I won’t be a cheerleader and drum major, so I’ll get to see it from that point of view, and I’ll get to see how the crowd reacts to it. I think it will be really fun,” Hughes said.

“I like how (the crowd) all gets pumped for the games. We’ve got the best seats right there on the field,” Caffee said.

“I love football season,” Kramer said. “It’s just a lot of crowd and excitement, and everybody’s there to support the football team. Brownstown is big on community, and I’m really excited about that.”

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The Seymour High School Marching Owls will play at home football games Aug. 26, Sept. 9, Sept. 30 and Oct. 14.

The band, which has more than 220 members, is directed by Kevin Cottrill. His assistants are Debbie Carroll, Ellen Mirer and Kyle Lutes. The drum majors are seniors Hallie Crenshaw and Skyler Cash and junior Sergio Galicia.

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The Brownstown Central High School Band of Braves will play at home football games Sept. 2, Sept. 16, Sept. 23 and Oct. 7.

The band, which has 42 members this year, is directed by Richard Branaman. The drum majors are senior Suzzanna Kramer, junior Bailey Hughes and sophomore Alex Caffee.


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