BUTLER — The Eastside Marching Blazer Pride band will explore the importance of dreams in its contest show, “Only in Sleep.”

The band’ first competition is this Saturday at Bluffton High School.

“The show depicts the importance of our dreams and ranges from a nightmare to a lullaby to a vivid dream depicting the limitless possibilities of our future,” explained director Adam Strong.

The 2019 band is comprised of 21 musicians and two in color guard.

Drum majors are seniors Ziayra Hulbert and Logan Helbert. “Along with their experience, they bring leadership by example as well as enthusiasm to get the group going,” Strong said.

Music featured in the show includes “Beautiful Dreamer” by Stephen Foster, “Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, “Only in Sleep” by Ēriks Ešenvalds and “Fly to Paradise” by Eric Whitacre.

Strong is pleased with the progress students have shown in learning the show.

“Never before has this group learned their show material at a quicker pace,” he said. “The group learned the amount usually covered through all of band camp by the fourth day. They show a desire to progress further than they have in the past.”

He credits having a significant core of returning musicians in that process. “This has helped us tremendously when it comes to the learning process,” Strong said. “This group is dedicated and hungry.

“The challenge always lies in helping the new members adjust and join the learning curve at the same rate as the rest of the band. Though this always resolves, our goal will be to bring everybody to the same page sooner in the season.”

The band has established a set of goals and is working to achieve them, Strong said.

“The first set of goals dealt with the pace of learning the show. The group far exceeded the set pace I had for them, so this was exciting to see,” Strong said.

“Next, we aim to be further along in the cleaning process before we hit the first competition,” he explained. “There is sometimes a lull between band camp and the first show, so we are trying to push through this to keep our momentum strong.

“Ultimately, this group is eager to push past regionals,” he said. “Though our group is small, the group is talented and driven enough to make this happen.

The band’s performance schedule is as follows: Saturday, Sept. 7, Bluffton High School; Saturday, Sept. 14, DeKalb High School; Saturday, Sept. 21, Concord High School; Saturday, Oct. 5, Homestead High School; Saturday, Oct. 12, ISSMA Open Class Invitational at Plymouth High School; Saturday, Oct. 19, ISSMA Open Class regionals at Lafayette Jefferson High School; Saturday, Oct. 26, East Noble High School; Saturday, Nov. 2, ISSMA Open Class semi-state at Franklin Community High School; Saturday, Nov. 9, ISSMA Open Class state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

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