The marching band at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs may be large in numbers — it boasts 110 members this year — but it’s more like a small, close-knit family.
“We know everyone’s name,” said Olivia Overholtzer, a junior drum major. “We can hang out with everyone, and it’s not awkward. It’s an amazing family feeling, which makes it different from other activities in that way.”
Andy Walters, Lewis Central’s band director, said he’s particularly fond of this year’s group of students, calling them hard-working and dynamic.
“They can be really, really funny at times and at other times, it’s like a family squabble a little bit,” he said.
And their hard work can clearly be seen in their 2013 show, “Kà,” which is part of the Cirque du Soleil theatrical show. According to Walters, the show is about “two different teams or sides fighting against something else.”
“The story of ‘Kà’ is basically a teamwork theme. I tried to choose a show that fit what the band is all about or where we need to go as a program,” he said. “And we liked the music a lot — that was a big thing. It just gave us a chance to be creative with our show design.”
Overholtzer said she “loves the show,” adding that it’s unique compared with anything she’s ever done.
“The show itself is more advanced and a little more difficult,” she said.
“But it’s interesting because it’s not music that most people have heard.”
Sophomore Vanessa Cox, who plays clarinet, agreed.
“The intent — the two sides fighting against each other — is just intriguing. I think the audience really likes it because it’s something new and really pulls them in.”
The show has been popular with audiences — and judges.
On Oct. 19, the band received a superior rating in division one at the 2013 Iowa High School Music Association’s State Marching Band Festival.
Earlier this school year, the band placed second at the Glenwood Loess Hills Field Fest competition and took first in the 4A division in Parade and Field in Clarinda at the Southwest Iowa Band Jamboree.
Overall, Walters has high hopes for his students.
“I hope they have a love and a joy centered around music,” he said. “I hope they want to perform and continue to do music after high school. And I hope they’ve created relationships and bonds with each other that will last a lifetime.
“I hope they can work together with other people as a team. That’s a big part of what we do. Teamwork, struggles and triumphs all happen in band within the family,” Walters said.