Marching Owls hitting the right notes with ’80s tunes


Whether you say you want to “Jump” or “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” both will be a part of home football games at Seymour High School’s Bulleit Stadium this fall.

The Van Halen hit and the popular song by the late Whitney Houston will be among the 1980s tunes performed by the Marching Owls at the first home game Sept. 3 against Columbus East.

“’80s Rockers” is the theme for the band and color guard’s first show, which also will include AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Band Director Kevin Cottrill said he recently learned of a new arrangement of the Houston hit and knew he wanted to go with an ’80s theme.

While looking for other music, he decided to go with “Jump” after the death of guitarist Eddie Van Halen on Oct. 6, 2020. He also found an arrangement for “Back in Black” that he liked.

“That’s where this comes from,” Cottrill said of the theme choice. “I want to pay a little bit of a tribute to Eddie Van Halen because he’s such a master on the instrument.”

Even though the 200-plus members of the band were born a couple of decades after the ’80s, Cottrill said they have picked up on the music and like it.

“It’s definitely more recognizable ’80s songs, even like this generation will recognize them,” senior drum major Katie Deppen said, adding the music also will connect with the older generation.

“I think it reaches out to everybody,” junior drum major Liza Stuckwisch said. “Anybody watching pretty much knows these songs, so I think that’s what’s really good about our band.”

Senior drum majors Will Cottrill and Stevie Sedam said the tunes are perfect for marching band.

“Uplifting music is always better for marching. I love ’80s music. They are really upbeat for what we just came out of in the community,” Sedam said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down schools and businesses.

“A lot of songs that we have today or in recent years are not particularly good for marching bands in different parts, so ’80s with rock bands, there are parts for anything,” Will said.

When not playing on the field at halftime, the Marching Owls will be back in the stands behind the student section. Last fall, they sat apart in chairs behind the west end zone due to the pandemic.

“I think it’s just a good way to return from what we experienced last year,” Deppen said.

“Hopefully, it gives them hope, brings the energy up and makes them excited for the return of all of the Friday nights and everything,” Will said.

Stuckwisch said the band also plans to perform during opening ceremonies of the Seymour Oktoberfest and that festival’s parade, which didn’t happen last year because of the pandemic.

“I just want everybody to be excited about our band because we didn’t get to show it very much last year,” she said. “I think these songs are a good way to get everybody excited. We have songs that we dance to, and we get the student section involved. I missed that a lot last year, so I’m excited for that. I think it’s just a way to get everything back to normal.”

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