Review by Sam Smith

Since 2014, the Loveland High School Marching Band has been awarded a perfect score at the Ohio Music Education Association competition, and have performed in the State Marching Band finals. Loveland High School’s marching band has performed routines with themes ranging from bee swarms to James Bond to Spanish dances to primary colors. This year, the marching band takes on a more abstract concept: man versus nature. 

Colorguard warms up before their performance.
Musicians prepare before halftime
Seniors Delaney Dunster and Tristin Collins perform to play during the Milford game as the sun sets.

“Our theme this year is a dystopian man vs nature concept. The band begins on the field with a giant switchboard and an industrial city setting in the background. Our opener is a very invigorating movement based off of the destruction of Hometree from the Avatar soundtrack. The music is very rhythmic, continuously building until a massive explosion takes place,” said Drum Major and senior, Sophia Sperry. Sperry has been in marching band since she was a freshman, and conducts throughout the performance.

The band performs the routine at the half-time of Varsity football games. On Fridays and on Saturdays, they enter high school marching band competitions around the region.

As this year’s display begins, some players hide behind a wall prop, while others interact with props on the field such as a smokestack and a large LED switchboard.

“The second movement (an orchestral piece, Sensemayá) is the longest. The mood is quite mysterious, starting out with the flute quintet quickly becoming powerful and intense as the movement progresses. Sensemaya is where nature strikes back against man– the guard pounds against the machine as the band continues with drum breaks and dynamic sections within the movement. It’s definitely the peak of the show,” Sperry continued.

Senior, Sophia Sperry, during the performance on September 22nd
Senior Amy Geiger, conducts flutists
The brass section of LHSMB under stadium lights

The third movement is Aaron Copland’s ballad, Quiet City. “It begins with a beautiful trumpet solo soon joined by an
French Horn” Sperry explained. The two soloists are the focus of the third
movement, both musically and visually. “As the last survivors fall
from the smokestack into the grips of nature, the band finishes the
dreamy movement,” said Sperry.
The final movement is from the Avatar soundtrack as well. “It’s a
very majestic and inspiring closer to the show. Nature reigns
victorious as the band is now one with the earth,” Sperry said.

Trombonists wait to file onto the field under a moonrise

The production is precise, with performers moving in perfect and complex synchronicity. Musicians perform complicated music entirely by memory while the color guard waves flags and spins rifles with precision– the immense amount of preparation is evident.

The marching band begins practicing in the heat of mid-summer.
They work all through the last week in July and first week in
August practicing basics, then start putting drill and music on the
field during the middle of the week after that. “We practice three
days a week when school starts and try to put as much on the field as we can for the first performance,” explained French Horn soloist and senior, Emily Kiehl.

Players perform after a touchdown against Milford. The September 22nd game featured 8th grade performers during the first half of the game.
A tuba reflects the scoreboard

Between performances, players and musicians mingle and laugh. A sense of camaraderie is evident in the band as they interact with their peers.

“I would describe the group dynamic to be encouraging, productive, and a ton of fun. We have the best group of players than any of the past years and everyone is willing to work put their best work on show for everyone to see,” trumpet soloist and Senior, Quinn Caney explained. 

Junior, Maddy Hammons, conducts

With two more games to perform at, the season is beginning to wrap up for the performers. As the season comes to an end, the musicians reflect on their experiences at home games.

“The highlight of the season has been the first home game. The energy was high and everyone had a ton of fun,” explained Caney.

Kiehl said that the highlight has been listening to the musicians get
stronger. “The music is really hard this year and everyone is
stepping up to the challenge.”

“This year’s highlight has definitely been seeing the progress of how much the band has grown throughout the season–especially on my favorite movement, Sensemayá. Since it’s such a fierce and exciting piece it’s great to see the band really step into the ferociousness and the vigor of the piece,” said Sperry. She added
that she was excited to see their development throughout
the season and showcase that at football games and competitions.

Loveland marching band’s performance is unique, exciting and invigorating. The passionate cohesion of the group is visible even from the stands, and the execution is impeccable. But even more impressive is the underlying meaning. It is a critique on man’s ultimate powerlessness over nature is certainly unusual for a high school halftime show, and yet is presented in an engaging, entertaining and ultimately impactful manner.

The last chances to see the performance in the context of a football game will be on Friday, October 6 and October 20th at the Tiger Turf at 7 PM. However, the band will compete every Saturday and host a competition at Loveland High School on September 30th.

Sam Smith works at Loveland Magazine as a writer, photographer, and videographer. He is a filmmaker, animator, cinematographer, and photographer studying in Film/TV at New York University Tisch School of The Arts. Smith graduated from Loveland High School in 2018. His photo/journalistic book Abandoned Cincinnati is slated for publication this fall.


  1. I love the decorative border wall the band has used this season! It’s cute when the border jumpers pop up during the performance! They symbolic maquiladora factory is a nice touch as well, showing how NAFTA has created environmental side effects that flow over the wall.

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