The Delaware Hayes and Big Walnut high school marching bands' performances won't be limited to football games this fall.

Both bands will perform in several competitions as well.

Hayes band director Andy Doherty said as a contest band, the school's marchers work with just one halftime show each fall, set to debut Friday, Aug. 30, during the home game vs. Buckeye Valley.

But that doesn't mean the show will be boring for those attending every game, he said, because it will evolve throughout the season.

The show is "not exactly the same each week," he said. "Each week the show will be more developed. We'll make changes to it."

Called "Oddly Enough," it will feature compositions with an odd number in their titles, he said. They include segments of Beethoven's Fifth, Seventh and Ninth symphonies along with popular songs such as "99 Red Balloons" and "Seven Nation Army."

The themes of the selections will be melded into a longer piece, he said.

The band will perform in several competitions staged by the Ohio Music Educators Association, he said. Bands are judged on the show's visual and music elements and the show as a whole.

The state finals will be held the first weekend in November, he said, which for Hayes' division will be held at Hilliard Bradley High School.

Big Walnut band director Craig Porter said his band will compete at the Ohio State Invitational on Sept. 2, Westerville North High School on Oct. 5 and Thomas Worthington High School on Oct. 26.

The band's show, dubbed "Piano Man: The Music of Billy Joel," features "Piano Man," "We Didn't Start the Fire," "And So It Goes" and "Uptown Girl." The first home performance is set Sept. 13 during Big Walnut's game against Shelby.

Porter said the band has 168 instrumentalists and color-guard members.

Hayes begins thinking about its fall show in November or December of the preceding year, Doherty said.

That's when band directors start selecting the repertoire, designing the on-field marching drill and thinking about color-guard work, he said.

The plans take shape by May, he said, and when daily band rehearsals start in July, the band holds a show-reveal party.

The 106-member band practices a little in May, then four hours a day during the first three weeks of July, he said.

"We see the kids getting better really quickly," he said. "In four hours, we get a lot done."

The July rehearsals are followed by a week-long pre-camp from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for four days, then another week of band camp running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for five days, he said.

Despite the long daily schedule, "They love it," Doherty said of the students.

"It takes a lot of commitment to be out here 12 hours a day for this week, and it's tough," he said Aug. 5 during the camp.

"It always impresses me to see how resilient they are and just how motivated they are," he said. "It's inspiring to me and the rest of the staff.

"To use our time more effectively, we break up into smaller groups" during the long days of band camp, he said.

The "battery" -- aka the drum line -- and the color guard might practice indoors, for example, while other musicians are outdoors rehearsing the movements of the field drill.

Joining the practices are the band's front ensemble, the musicians and equipment along the sideline during the show.

Doherty said the ensemble includes a xylophone, marimbas, a glockenspiel, an electric bass, bells and a synthesizer.

Boosters provide support during camp, he said, with parents feeding dinner to everyone.

"We really appreciate all the community support," he said. "We have a lot of donors, including businesses around town. We couldn't do this without help from the community."

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