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Lione and the marching band “Lights Up the Night”

Alex+Cafe%2C+a+seventh+grader+in+the+marching+band%2C+shows+off+his+%22Light+the+Night%22+t-shirt.
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Lione and the marching band “Lights Up the Night”

Alex Cafe, a seventh grader in the marching band, shows off his

Alex Cafe, a seventh grader in the marching band, shows off his "Light the Night" t-shirt.

Alex Cafe, a seventh grader in the marching band, shows off his "Light the Night" t-shirt.

Alex Cafe, a seventh grader in the marching band, shows off his "Light the Night" t-shirt.

Isabella Cafe, Reporter

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As football season tears through high schools throughout the country, there is a sole teacher bringing music to the stands of EJSHS. Mr. Lione, the school’s marching band director, has been working to shape and perfect this year’s halftime performance, fittingly titled, “Light the Night”. What may seem like a quick few minutes of melodic harmonies and flashy outfits is, in reality, a well-oiled and well-practiced machine that takes many months and great collaborations to achieve.

One of the most demanding necessities of marching band is choosing a theme for the music, tone, and choreography to revolve around. As band director at EJSHS for 11 years, Lione knows that picking a theme is no easy task, and begins to brainstorm up to seven months before marching band season begins. The endeavour requires teamwork from several different individuals, student and staff alike.

“To start the process, I talk to the staff and see where we’re at. Once the drum major is selected, we talk to him or her and see if they have any ideas, as well as the section leaders. So, it really is a joint effort between my own ideas, the staff’s ideas, and the student leadership ideas. Then we come to a consensus,” Lione notes.

Next, Lione sets about picking music and helping to develop the choreography for the marching band’s performance. Over the years, the band has featured a wide variation of musical selections, including compilations of the musical Chicago, the music of the rock group Queen, and even pop-culture behemoth Star Wars.

This year’s production is titled, “Light the Night,” highlighting the contrast between dark and light. Although it is different from the themes of years prior, Lione is confident in the collection of music and the ability of the band. The show features a variety of song selections, from classical to contemporary.

“This year we wanted to change it and we did ‘Light the Night’ – so the idea is, we start with ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ which is a darker theme, we go to ‘Into the Light,’ which is a bit lighter, and then ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry,” Lione explained.

The last key component in creating a smash-hit halftime performance is the members themselves. As students graduate and students enter EJSHS, the ambiance of the group is always changing. According to Lione, the band was hard-hit by the loss of several experienced veterans, but saw an exchange through the addition of numerous rookies into the ranks.

Among the chaos and excitement, Lione’s primary focus remains the enjoyment of his students, both in the band and in the stands. As football season ramps up once again, he hopes that amid all the hard work, the band will have fun – and maybe even draw some of their peers into the music as well.

“Just have fun this year! Like I said, we’ve got a younger group so we’re really taking our time – we’ve made out drill a bit easier this year for them. […] Just to have fun for them – especially being a younger group this year, so just have fun, make them enjoy it, and hopefully get some of their friends to join it next year as well.”

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Lione and the marching band “Lights Up the Night”