The Evanston Township High School Marching Band is off to see the wizard.
Coinciding with 75th anniversary of the film “The Wizard of Oz,” football and band competition audiences will be wowed by a set list of 10 classic movie tunes.
While the 80-member Wildkit band – 26 of them new – follow the Yellow Brick Road, ETHS theater actors will portray Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and the Witch, and the color guard will play the Munchkins of Munchkinland.
“I really like the movie,” said Dina Baron, 14, an ETHS freshman percussionist. “We all want to be Flying Monkeys but I don’t think that’s going to happen!”
But there’s room for interpretation, said Matt Bufis, co-director of bands. Props, many in the dreaming stage, will be added.
“We’re excited to be here, back from band camp in our first full week of rehearsals of the fall season,” Bufis said.
Bufis, who shares directing duties with Michael Lehman, spent the third week of August fine-tuning the band after camp earlier this month at George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay, Wis.
“We’re really excited for the new school year, the startup of our marching season and the opportunity to bring the “Wizard of Oz” to our fans for our half-time show,” Lehman said. “We have enjoyed a wonderful start to our season, and look forward to the next two months of football games, competitions and [Northwestern University] outreach events.
This year’s drum majors are Angela Wong, 17, a senior and Zoe Ryan-Hubbard, 16, a junior.
“I’m really excited to do the Wizard of Oz,” said Angela, who has been drum major for two years. “I feel like the Wizard of Oz was a part of almost everyone’s childhood.
“I loved watching it as a kid and I still watch it as a teen now.”
The program has five movements including the cyclone, coroner’s song, Munchkinland, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” “We’re Off To See The Wizard,” “If I Only Had A Brain,” Miss Gulch (the Wicked Witch theme), flying monkeys, “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
“I think this is one of our best shows yet,” Zoe Ryan-Hubbard said, who chatted at rehearsal on ETHS Dodge Avenue.
“I think people actually ‘get’ the show,” Zoe said, of the intergenerational storyline.
“I feel honored to lead such a great group,” Angela Wong added.
The color guard is coached by Emily Long.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Long said.
The only male color guard member is Ben Sanders, 15, a freshman.
“It’s harder than I thought,” Ben said, of the skill required to toss and catch a rifle, as well as twirling a flag. “I really like the Wizard of Oz. I’m really glad we’re doing it this year. I’m a role model, maybe”
Ben has a costume different from his female peers.
“It’s something I get attention about,” he said, of his decision to be in color guard. “I wanted to get involved in an extra curricular activity and this one interested me.”
His coach is proud.
“A lot of boys don’t do it for fear of ridicule,” Emily Long said. “It’s a shame it doesn’t get more support across the world, but it’s getting better.”
Catch the show
• The band will perform Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the ETHS Football Athletic Hall of Fame game.
• Band members will perform at the NU Band Day halftime at Ryan Field Sat. Sept. 6 and will attend the 6:30 p.m. Boosters Sherman Plaza Parking rooftop “Boosterpalooza.”
• Homecoming is Friday, Sept. 26 versus the Niles West Wolves at 7:30 p.m.
• Band competitions include the Oct. 5 St. Rita Mustang Stampede competition (ETHS competes at 3:15 p.m.) at St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago and the Settlers’ Days Competition Oct. 12 in Marengo. Visit http://www.eths.k12.il.us/main.aspx# and www.ethsbands.com.www.ethsbands.com