The answer to the age-old question, “How many Olentangy High School students does it take to fix a Tin Man’s broken heart?” is 95.
That’s the number of members of the 2019 iteration of the school’s marching band, whose contest show this season is titled “Simply Tin.”
“It’s a spin on the Tin Man from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ” director Ian Brun said prior to a recent after-school rehearsal. “It picks up just after the movie ends and sort of follows the things that go along with having a heart.”
The theme speaks to many of the young musicians and performers in the band.
“He gets his heart broken, but let’s just say that by the end (of the show), he’s fixed,” junior color guard co-captain Kendall Shirk said.
Brun said the show does not feature a literal Tin Man character, which has challenged the directors and students to find other ways to express the theme.
“It’s a challenge from a storytelling perspective,” Brun said.
Of course, that effort begins and ends with the music, which includes “Over the Rainbow,” Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Creep” by Radiohead and Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
“We haven’t typically done a lot of pop songs,” junior drum major Liberty Kingsley said, “but the music is great and people are enjoying performing it.”
“I think we have a great drill, too, and are executing it very well,” sophomore drum major Leanne De Silva added.
The 95 marchers include 35 freshmen, Brun said. Having lost some upperclassmen to redistricting with the opening last year of Berlin High School, this year’s senior class is small in comparison to the number of younger members in the band.
“These kids take care of and support each other,” Brun said, “and we have a (student) leadership team that exhibits the right characteristics.”
“One of the biggest goals is to bring everyone together to create something bigger than ourselves,” senior band president Jacob Carlson said.
“We want everyone to have fun, because that encourages people to be willing to work harder for something,” senior band vice president Lucas Fragiotta said, “and we’re trying to raise up those next leaders.”
All of which is not to say the students don’t want to be successful in judged competitions. The band participates in Ohio Music Education Association-sponsored contests and also in Mid States Band Association competitions.
“If they’re doing the right work, being responsible to themselves and to each other, those things will come,” Brun said.
The band’s next competition is Saturday, Sept. 28, at Licking Valley High School. For more information, visit olentangyband.com.
Brun said the band will have a special halftime performance for next month’s homecoming, during which eighth-grade band students are invited to perform. Brun said he’s inviting alumni for this year’s homecoming show as well, one of the first efforts in what he hopes will become a standing alumni group for the band.