The Olentangy Orange High School marching band will thank its fans and show off its upgraded turf stage during the first FANfare marching band festival.
From 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, eight high school marching bands from across Ohio will perform at the Orange High School stadium, 2840 E. Orange Road.
They'll be joined by the Ohio University Marching 110, known for its viral YouTube videos of performances. Ten Orange alumni are members of the band, which has put on popular renditions of Gangnam Style, with more than 5 million views online, and The Fox, with nearly 2 million views in the last month.
"I've taken my band to other festivals like this and I have students and parents who say, 'Mr. Z, maybe we could host our own someday,' " said marching band director Marc Zirille. "With a lot of the boosters and the community members supporting the addition of the turf, I thought this might be a good year to ago ahead and try to host our own festival to help highlight our facilities and our community."
Zirille said this year also was an opportune time to begin hosting an annual festival, because 184 marching band members are traveling to Chicago to perform in the McDonald's 80th annual Thanksgiving Day parade. All proceeds from the event will help students offset the cost of the trip.
The band performed at the Indy 500 three years ago, but Zirille said this is the biggest event the Marching Pioneers have ever attended. According to statistics provided by WGN America, the parade, which will air live on the network, is expected to attract 3.5 million television viewers, and an estimated 500,000 people will line the Chicago streets to watch it in person.
"We've never done anything quite like this before," Zirille said. "This is my 14th year teaching and I've never done anything this big either."
He said he'd like to make the festival an annual event that could fund future trips, new uniforms and upgraded instruments. Making sure to thank the fans every year also is important, he said.
"I wouldn't have students to teach if it wasn't for our fans," Zirille said. "They wouldn't have instruments or uniforms if it weren't for our parents and our community being fans, so they're what this FANfare is all about."
Zirille began planning the event in February by bringing together a committee of parents and by contacting other schools that might be interested in joining the festival. High school bands that accepted the invitation are Fredericktown, Galloway, Granville, Indian Creek, Lakewood, Bucyrus and Whitehall-Yearling.
Bands will kick off the event by parading around the stadium track while playing their home-school fight songs.
Every 20 minutes, a new band will take the field to perform a show.
"I always tell my kids you should always perform as if someone were watching you for the first time, and I know that this FANfare is going to bring in so many people from around Ohio who will be watching them for the first time, so they can really go all out and give all their energy and really just show off what our school is all about," Zirille said.
Tickets for the FANfare will be available for purchase beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at the stadium ticket office. Admission is $10 for reserved seating, $8 for general seating, $6 for seniors and students.
This event is a precursor to Friday Night Live, the band's popular indoor concert series, which will run Nov. 21-24.