Gahanna Lincoln High School's Golden Lions Marching Band is in a New York state of mind this season.

In preparation for marching Nov. 11 in the New York City Veterans Day Parade, the nation's largest, the 195-member group will perform two New York City-themed shows Sept. 7 and Oct. 5.

"The music is very challenging, and we will have some formations on the field that we think the crowds will love," said Rob Cebriak, band director.

The first show will include "On Broadway," "Lullaby of Broadway" and "Birdland."

The second show will feature "42nd Street," "New York State of Mind" and "New York, New York" of Frank Sinatra fame.

"We will combine the two shows into one larger presentation when we perform at the Buckeye Invitational, hosted by the Ohio State University Marching Band at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 29," Cebriak said.

Senior Grace Schuler, who plays clarinet, said the New York shows are exciting.

"We're making a bunch of cool shapes in that one and the music is really awesome," she said.

Schuler said she really likes the challenge.

"The bigger the challenge, the better the payoff," she said. "It's nice to see it come together."

Schuler said she visited New York City with her family two years ago, and she's looking forward to returning with her band family.

Senior Jacob Bentley, who plays trumpet, also looks forward to the New York shows.

"We have a Broadway song, a pop song and my favorite is a jazz song about New York," he said. "It's upbeat and fun to play. If you're familiar with jazz music, you might recognize it. For me, it's fun from a playing standpoint."

Bentley said some of the formations the marching band makes are really cool, too.

"One is a big apple," Bentley said. "They're challenging but it's worth it."

He said he has never visited New York City, and he's looking forward to it.

"I'm very glad I can do it my senior year," Bentley said. "It's a good send-off."

He said a combined patriotic show with the New Albany band at a Sept. 14 away game also will be fun.

"It's a good opportunity to see how bands have their own cultures and styles," Bentley said. "Some of the things are the same and some different. We have to merge as musicians."

Cebriak said the marching band has a small senior class of 43 musicians, compared to the 73 who just graduated.

"But their leadership has been excellent, and some juniors are showing great leadership, as well," he said. "Our band council organized some fun activities for (band) camp and have been very helpful in making things run smoothly. The students are focused on encouraging each other to greater achievements, and it's been a positive environment throughout camp. I'm very proud of the tone they are setting for the school year."

Band parent Beth Bentley, Jacob's mother, said parents and Gahanna fans alike will enjoy the high-energy, quality music and precision of the marching band.

"The band consistently brings excitement to all events in which they participate," she said. "Working toward the upcoming trip to NYC this November is especially exciting."

As a band parent, Bentley said, she can't wait to see the Marching Lions perform on the streets of New York City in the 96th Anniversary Veterans Day Parade.

Cebriak said all the students are excited about the trip and Nov. 11 parade.

"Over 25,000 people typically march in the parade, and tens of thousands line Fifth Avenue to watch," he said.

The Golden Lions also will honor local veterans with a patriotic show on Aug. 31, bring back alumni for a homecoming show on Sept. 21, and celebrate seniors, presenting the annual Script Lions, on Oct. 26.

The band will perform at the first home halftime show on Aug. 31 when the Gahanna Lions football team takes on Dublin Coffman.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla