The Mahomet-Seymour High School Marching Band has been infected with a virus.
One that won’t send students home, but instead bring the Mahomet-Seymour community together.
“We’re trying something a little new this year,” Mahomet-Seymour Band Director Michael Stevens said. “We’ve done theme shows in the past, but we haven’t gone to this extreme.”
The 2018 show titled “Outbreak” will feature 214 students a research team developing new cures for diseases. In the midst of a lab accident, the virus will begin to take over sections of the band, transforming the students into crazy, nutty people.
For the first time, the marching band will depart from their band uniforms to sport blue scrubs that will be discarded into a neon shirt to indicate which band members have been infected with the virus.
Stevens alongside his sidekick, Band Instructor Phil Meyer, decided to continue the dance choreography aspect from the 2017 show titled “Zorro” and extend it into a tango of crazy, infected students in “Outbreak”.
When Stevens and Meyer saw a drum core perform Radiohead’s Creep, they thought it’d be neat to couple that with the strengths of the Mahomet-Seymour Marching Band. After brainstorming, they believed “Liturgical Dances” and “The Red Cape Tango” would be great pieces to round out the set.
“The songs interweave with each other. The “Creep” theme comes back in the show later, the “Liturgical Dances” theme comes back in the show later, the Red Cape Tango; it’s just all interwoven. The show really never stops.”
The marching band began practicing for this year’s show on July 30.
Although accounting for a quarter of the Mahomet-Seymour High School student population, Stevens said things are running smoothly so far.
“Every band has a different personality, even though there are a lot of the same kids in it,” Stevens said. “The way they interact with each other from year-to-year is different, your leadership is different from year-to-year, so that changes the dynamic.”
“But so far we’ve had no problems with people not getting along, we have good leaders who are stepping up and doing their jobs, so so far, I’m liking what I’m seeing.”
Part of that community, though is built on the family system the Mahomet-Seymour Marching Band has established.
Each year upperclassmen go through an application and interview process to be section leaders, which guide six or seven other members through conduct, focus and technique.
This atmosphere also spreads a virus through the band.
“That makes that bond really strong. Then when they are strong and unified, it seems like the other groups come together and we are building community in a way where it’s very cooperative.”
Spectators will be able to get a dose of the show during halftime of the August 31 home football game against Charleston.
The band will continue to prepare the show, finishing it up during their overnight stay in Allerton August 21 and 22 before traveling to Limestone, Lincolnway, University of Illinois and St. Louis for the Bands of America contest.