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At DHS, the band plays on

The buzz around town for the last several weeks has been about the impending Demopolis football season. When the Tigers travel to Wetumpka tonight, it will also mark the official 2008 debut of The River City Blue Marching Band.

“We’re trying to entertain with variety,” band director Phil Bonds said of the music that will fill the group’s halftime show.

Tonight in Wetumpka the band’s opener will be the Michael Jackson classic “Thriller.”

The group will follow with a 5th Dimension medley that includes “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine In.” For the next two weeks, River City Blue will close with the Demopolis High School fight song, “Eye of the Tiger.”

Bonds estimated the band’s final number will be on the field two weeks from tonight when the group travels to Fayette County.

According to Bonds, the band’s true closer will be medley of songs by The Rolling Stones including “Time Is on My Side” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

“I find it very interesting and well-rounded,” junior drum major Joel Coddington said of the musical selection.

The closer is expected to be on field just in time for “Bands on the Rivers,” Demopolis’ first high school marching band festival. That event is slated for Sept. 20.

Coddington is hopeful the unit gels together in time for the group to make a positive impression this season.

“One major thing that I’m looking for is more uniformity,” Coddington said of his hopes for the season.

“I think everybody who’s come here has had it set in their mind that we’re going to get this show on the field.”

In addition to a unique musical variety that defines its sound, River City Blue also has somewhat of a new look for 2008 due to the decision to exclude middle school band members from the marching group.

“What we did was cut an entire grade level out,” Bonds said. “This is the first time we’ve had an all high school group, ever.”

That decision leaves the group with 72 students who will march this season.

However, that number is expected to increase considerably next year as the group will graduate three seniors in May and plans to welcome 16 incoming freshmen next summer.

Bonds believes the move toward an all high school marching band will ultimately enhance the quality of the program.