By JENNIFER MEIER
“It’s nice to be among friends,” said Goshen Band Director Tom Cox.
Of the 218 competing marching bands in the state of Indiana, five Elkhart County bands have practiced and competed throughout the summer and fall and are now headed to the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday in Indianapolis. Forty bands separated into four classes will compete.
“We can be proud of Elkhart County and our little corner of the state,” Cox said. “We have very good teachers, students and parents.”
Class B competition begins at 1:15 p.m. with Northridge being the first local band to perform at 1:28 p.m. Northridge’s show, “Et Terra In Pax” (And On Earth, Peace) features the music of Jan Van Der Roost. The Raider Band has 130 members, including 22 color guard. They have been to ISSMA State Finals seven times since 2004.
“The big stadium is great for bands that focus on playing musically,” said Band Director Brad Zook. “I am looking forward to hearing and seeing them perform at state finals in front of thousands of people. The senior class has been wonderful in motivating all the students to do their best at each rehearsal — and it’s paid off. The band staff has shown great dedication, giving the kids all the tools they need to be successful.”
The Crimson Marching Band of Goshen High School performs “Musica d’organo at 1:54 p.m.. Cox is focusing on details and said he is pleased knowing the students have already performed in a stadium setting this year.
“The sound is booming. You just can’t listen like you can outside,” Cox said. “This week we are refining what we do. There are a few small last minute changes based on what some of the judges said at semi state, but no major changes.”
A big part of the band’s successful season, said Cox, is due to the parents.
“We just couldn’t do this without parent’s support,” Cox said. “Whether they are playing a big role or a smaller one, we have to have their support.”
Goshen has competed in ISSMA State Finals 17 times since 1987, 16 times in Class B and one time in Class A. The band has 178 members including 27 color guard.
The defending Class B state champions Concord Marching Minutemen with 212 members including 28 guard, perform at 2:46 p.m. with “Clash of Patterns”.
The band has competed in ISSMA State Finals 27 times since 1983 always in Class B. They were awarded their first state title in 1992 and have since placed first in 2003, 2005 and 2011.
“We are focusing this week on doing whatever it takes for each student to reach their maximum output — to give the greatest effort they can,” said Director Scott Spradling. “And for the most part they are doing that.”
Spradling said there are so many people to thank for the band’s successful season.
“We have an incredible staff here at Concord. The moms and dads are also very helpful and the school has been very supportive,” Spradling said. “The great bands in Elkhart County push us to be better and that’s extremely valuable.”
The Fairfield Marching Pride performs “One” at 10:13 a.m. under the direction of first year band leader Andrew Muth.
The band has 62 members and 12 color guard. Fairfield participated as a ISSMA Class D band from 1990 through 2006 and made State Finals 13 times. Fairfield began participating in ISSMA Class C in 2009 and have made state every year.
“We are treating this week like every other week,” said Muth. “We hand out a list of goals to each band member and we work on them — fixing, refining and addressing certain issues. The more different we make this week sound because it’s state, the more anxious the students become. So we tell them to just walk in and do the show like they do every week and it will turn out well.”
Muth credits the band’s success to the students and parents.
“The students and parents are exceptional. It’s not easy for them to start out a new season with a new director. But it’s never felt like a struggle. They have been open and accepting and that’s great for me and great for the program.”
The 64-member Red Regiment Marching Band of NorthWood High School takes the field at 11:31 a.m. with “Sunday in the Park.” The band has been to ISSMA State Finals seven times since 1991.
“We are trying to keep dry this week, but I think we will fail at that!” said Director Eric Criss. “Right now we are changing a few small details to keep the show fresh and interesting for the students. We are continuing to clean up the performance and create a good sound.”
Criss said Visual Caption Head Steve Provatore has been the new ingredient for the band that has allowed him to focus on other aspects of the performance.
“His work has taken a lot of the stress off of me and made it possible for me to dig deeper into the music,” Criss said.
He said he has everyone to thank for this year’s marching success.
“With all the band’s success, it’s been a very low-stress year. The kids are awesome and the seniors have been fantastic,” Criss said. “This year especially we’ve had the right people in the right places.”
Who’s competing Saturday:
Indianapolis Ben Davis, Lake Central, Homestead, Center Grove, Avon, Penn Lawrence North, Lawrence Central, Carmel.
Fort Wayne North Side, Northridge, Floyd Central, Goshen, Jasper, Munster, Plainfield, Concord, Northview and Greenwood.
Vincennes Lincoln, Fairfield, Norwell, Fort Wayne Concordia, North Harrison, Angola, Beech Grove, NorthWood, Edgewood and Russiaville Western.
Lewis Cass, South Spencer, Evansville Mater Dei, Adams Central, Southridge, Forest Park, Paoli, Eastside, Springs Valley and Monrovia.
The ISSMA State Marching Band Finals are Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Doors open at 9 a.m. Admission is $20 per adult, $18 for students. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Class C performances begin at 10 a.m.; Class B at 1:15 p.m., Class D at 4:30 p.m. and Class A at 7:40 p.m.