Bands earn gold ratings at invitational


JASPER — More than 20 marching bands performed at Jerry Brewer Stadium Saturday as part of the Indiana State School Musical Association Open Class Invitational.

All four Dubois County marching bands participated, and they did well.

“We had a really, really strong performance. And the kids felt that too,” said Eric Obermeyer, director of the Forest Park Marching Rangers. “When the students came off the field, they were all smiles. You could feel the excitement coming off the field, because you knew that they knew that they had a really good show.”

A total of 24 bands performed in Saturday’s daylong invitational. Performances started at 11 a.m. and ended with the final awards ceremony at 7:45 p.m.

The Marching Rangers received a gold rating, with distinctions for music, visual and general effect.

“This whole past week, we put on like a whole closer for our show,” Obermeyer said. “And typically when we put on something new, it doesn’t go so well the first time around. But that was not the case this weekend. They did fantastic.”

The band will perform in regionals Saturday at Central High School in Evansville. The Rangers will perform at 3 p.m. (2 p.m. CT). They will practice Tuesday and Thursday this week and leave at noon Saturday for the competition.

“I feel very good leading up to our true competitive season,” Obermeyer said, “with that performance.”

The Marching Wildcats of Jasper high School received a gold rating with noted distinctions for music, visual and effect.

“It was a good solid run,” Band Director Chad Gayso said. “For where we’re at in the season, I felt really good.”

He noted that there were aspects the band will need to work on and improve. “There’s certainly many, many things we have to fix and clean up,” he said, “to make timing better, refining the way we sound and some things visually. But overall, for being this early in the season, I was pretty happy with it.”

The Marching Wildcats will perform in the regional competition Saturday at Center Grove High School in Greenwood. They will take the field at 11 a.m., so the band will leave early Saturday morning. “We go on first that day, out of all the bands that will be there,” Gayso said. They will practice this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

Although the bands were not competing against each other in Jasper’s invitational, it was a good opportunity for each band to see how well they are doing and what needs improvement. And with it being held in the Dubois County, it gives the local community a chance to hear their local bands.

“It’s right here in our backyard, being held here at Jasper,” Gayso said. “So it’s a good event for us and brings a lot of people.”

“This is more like an assessment,” said Lannie Butler, band director for the Southridge High School Marching Raiders, “kind of a practice run to prepare for regional. And being in Jasper, it’s local for us.”

Performing for the people you know is always fun, he continued.

“It was fun and exciting to be back there and perform locally.” Butler said. “We got a lot of our parents and friends and relatives within the area that can come by, so that was nice.”

The Marching Raiders received a gold rating with distinctions for music, visual and effect.

“We felt like we had a pretty, pretty good performance overall,” Butler said. “We’ve been battling things like everybody else with all the challenges, just trying to have regular practices. You got some people here some days, some people quarantined, some people have this and that. We’re all trying to make it work the best we can.

That makes it a little more difficult to work on the show’s finishing touches.

“We know we’ve been making a lot of changes and trying to finish the show,” he said. “We’re still at that point, which is kind of normal this time of year, but not so normal because you have different people there all the time.”

Each band received a placing at Saturday’s invitational, but those are kept confidential since they are not official, Gayso explained. It’s so the bands have an idea of how they would rank if the show was an actual competition.

“We have a good performance and something we can build off of going into regional week,” Butler said.

The Marching Raiders will perform in the regional competition at Central High School in Evansville at 1:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. CT) Saturday. They have practices set for Wednesday and Thursday and will perform at Friday night’s football game, which is Senior Night. The Marching Raiders will also have a community show at Raider Field on Oct. 23.

The Marching Jeeps of Northeast Dubois Junior-Senior High School and the Marching Patriots of Heritage Hills High School each received a gold rating. They will perform in the ISSMA Scholastic Finals on Oct. 23 at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis. The Marching Jeeps will perform at 11:25 a.m.; the Marching Patriots will perform at 1:10 p.m.

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