Seymour band, color guard set for football season


For Friday’s football home opener and the second home game Sept. 1, the Seymour High School Marching Owls and Guard will present “Hip-Hop, Pop, Funk & Mellencamp.”

The third and fourth games Sept. 15 and 22 will be “The Music of John Williams.”

Then for the final home game Oct. 6, it will be “Taylor Swift in Concert.”

The 240 members of the band and color guard will give football fans variety as they enjoy halftime festivities under the Friday night lights at Bulleit Stadium.

To open the 2024 season, SMOG will present “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Yeah!” by Usher and a mashup of “Small Town” and “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp.

The latter two songs by the Seymour native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer were played by the band during the trip to Walt Disney World this past spring.

“It’s a good show,” drum major Katie Cottrill, a junior, said. “It has ‘Yeah!’ by Usher, so like older songs and new songs, so the student section can be up and dancing, the rest of the fans can be up and dancing and it’s fun for the drum majors, as well.”

Fellow junior and drum major Audrey Newkirk said it will be nice to include the pieces they did at Disney with a couple of other popular songs.

“They are fun songs that the band enjoys playing, and then they are excited to play, so it makes us sound better,” she said.

Junior Aubri Engle, another drum major, said those songs range from easy to complicated in terms of marching.

“It’s work for the marchers to work through that,” she said. “They have an easy start, but then they also have to kind of work their minds and get used to playing and marching at the same time. It gets hard, but it’s worth it.”

The sole senior drum major, Lucas Jablonski, is in his second year leading the band and said the first show will be easy, recognizable, fun music.

Director Kevin Cottrill said the color guard also likes those tunes, and he believes they will be received well by fans.

For the second home game Sept. 1 against Columbus East, SMOG will switch up the first two songs by playing a couple they will be doing for Indiana University Band Day: “Levitating” by Dua Lipa and “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. The closer will remain the Mellencamp medley.

For the next two shows at the Sept. 15 and 22 games against Bedford North Lawrence and Brownstown Central, scores from the popular movies “Star Wars,” “E.T.,” “Superman,” “Jaws” and “Indiana Jones” will entertain fans.

“He has written all of this movie music. He’s brilliant, a very good writer. People may say he’s one of the greatest American composers ever,” Kevin said of Williams. “He is a phenomenal writer and has written especially well for the trumpets, and since we have almost 50 trumpets, you can do what you can do.”

His idea for this show ties in with Williams, 91, doing his last film score for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” that was released this summer.

“My idea was ‘Hey, let’s sort of value that and let’s put a show around that,’” Kevin said. “Any time you can do Raiders and ‘Star Wars’ and ‘E.T’ and ‘Superman’ and ‘Jaws,’ that’s pretty cool.”

Jablonski said those have more of a feel of concert band music, so they will be a little tougher for the marchers.

“A little more classical, a little more theatrical, I’d say. A little more of a show,” he said. “Pop music is just radio. It’s still good music, just not as complex.”

He and the other drum majors feel the Marching Owls are up for the challenge.

“It’s deep, it’s flowing, it’s slower, so the band is going to have to adjust to that, but I think that’s good because it gives us a different perspective of marching band and something else for us to learn and experience,” Newkirk said.

“We’ve never marched songs like that before, so it’s kind of nice to be able to work toward that and experience different genres and aspects of music,” Engle said.

“They are recognizable because John Williams has written some of the most well-known pieces of music today,” Katie said. “Kids love ‘Star Wars.’ Kids love ‘Indiana Jones.’”

SMOG will close the football season with songs from a current pop star during the game against New Albany.

“Being under the lights again, it will be great being up there, the whole crowd right there, seeing all of (the band and color guard) just perform their best,” Jablonski said. “I would say most of them, the best part of this is just hanging with people, just talking, having fun. It’s nice to see the freshmen just making new friends, making bonds that pretty much last a lifetime.”

For the other three drum majors, it will be their first year experiencing that viewpoint of the band.

“I’m excited to be part of the leadership team that we have here at SHS and just watch all of these kids grow as musicians and as marchers and be able to watch it happen from the sideline and not be marching. I enjoy conducting a lot,” Katie said.

“I’m grateful to be part of building a community centered around music,” Newkirk said. “It really is for some of the people. This is like a family for them, so just being able to be part of that bonding experience for these kids and to give them something that they look forward to in the fall season is something I’m really excited for.”

Engle said it’s rewarding to watch the band members come in as freshmen and improve from there.

“I know it’s so intimidating. We were all in that position, and it’s so awesome to watch it all come together and for them to meet new people and have people to look up to and just really make new friends and feel welcomed here, especially with music,” she said. “I know that a lot of people reside in that and feel comfort in that, so it’s nice to just watch people be happy.”

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