London band joins the circus

Messenger photo by Mike Munden

Members of the London High School marching band practice their entrance onto the field.

The London High School marching band has joined the circus.

This season’s half-time show highlights songs from “Cirque du Soleil,” the international entertainment phenomenon. Director Craig Lewis picked the theme for its creative potential.

“There’s a lot we can do artistically with it. It’s just great music,” he said.

The show starts with “Distorted” and “Urban,” two high-energy songs that are fast and loud. In “Urban,” the spotlight shines on London’s drum line and percussion section. Fans can expect to hear great things from instruments including the marimba, xylophone and gongs.

The third song, “Reve Rouge,” which is French for red dream, is a graceful ballad that features a trumpet duo, as well as Elle Scott and Zach Smiley of the color guard.

The show will end with “Incantation,” another high-energy tune that sounds Middle Eastern in the middle. In one part, most of the band members are singing.

“We always look for something challenging but something the new kids can play, as well,” Lewis said of this year’s grouping of songs.

The London band graduated several seniors this past spring, but still boasts over 77 members, including several new color guard performers. This year’s field commander is sophomore Aubrey Keeton.

“In 2007, we had one of the strongest years since I started at London four years ago,” Lewis said. “We came close to making it to state. We need more superior ratings this year.”

The Raiders are entered in seven competitions this fall, including the Ohio State Invitational at which they will march in the Horseshoe on The Ohio State University campus.

Lewis enters the season with a new assistant director. Brittany Maxwell is a graduate of Mount Union College and a native of the Loudonville area. Also new is color guard leader Chris Salimbene. Craig Smith returns as the percussion leader.

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