Jeeps end marching season on high note

Northeast Dubois senior Gabby Sander, left, cheers with freshman Jade Mundy after competing in Saturday's ISSMA Scholastic Class Finals at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. To see more photos from the competition, click here. Nic Antaya/The Herald


INDIANAPOLIS — Excited, relieved and depressed — senior flutist Addison Kurtz felt everything after the Northeast Dubois Marching Jeeps performed at the Indiana State School Music Association Scholastic Class Finals on Saturday.

After the contest’s award ceremony, tears streamed from the eyes of some band members while others embraced in long, tight hugs. The Jeeps’ season may have ended at the blustery contest at Lawrence Central High School in northeast Indianapolis, but the memories and friendships the kids made together will last a lifetime.

“I love it,” Gabby Sander, the group’s drum major, said of marching band. “It definitely feels like a second home. I could turn to any one of these people with any problem and they can help me out.”

See a gallery of photos from the ISSMA Scholastic Class Finals here.

The ceremony closed the book on the third straight year the group has competed in the highest competition in ISSMA Scholastic Class B. The band did not place in the top five of the class, so their final ranking was not made public.

Northeast Dubois sophomore Breanna Holden, left, and senior Evan Dunning joined fingers before Saturday's ISSMA Scholastic Class Finals at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. Nic Antaya/The Herald

Sander and Kurtz are among 10 seniors in the 29-member ensemble that performed in their last high school marching band event at the finals contest. Marching Jeeps Director David Fox said the group performed with a lot of energy and the kids gave it their all.

“Obviously, we didn’t get in the top five, and that’s regrettable,” Fox said. “But, they did everything right. They worked hard and they should be proud of what they did. And we get to enjoy everything that we’ve accomplished this year.”

He added: “There’s just so much to be proud of. One performance does not make a successful or unsuccessful season.”

A powerful wind storm that left many in the Indianapolis area without power — and led to the cancellation of the Scholastic Class A contest later in the day — created difficult performing conditions throughout the day. In Scholastic Class B, South Vermillion High School placed first, Reitz Memorial High School earned second place, Washington High School notched third, Salem High School took home fourth and Corydon Central High School placed fifth.

Kurtz said the Jeeps’ performance at the finals contest was still one of the best run-throughs the band has put on this year. Madison McIntosh, a senior bass drum player, said after the performance that she was happy because the band executed well on the Lawrence Central turf, but was also sad because she won’t get to spend as much time with her fellow bandmates, whom she loves.

“It’s been amazing because each year we’ve gotten better than what we were,” said McIntosh, who has been a member of the band for three years. “When I first started, that was the first year this band went to state. Now, we’re just getting better and better every year when we go to state.”

Fox has not yet started work on next year’s show. He doesn’t see the seniors’ departure as the end of an era because he knows the underclassmen are ready to lead and will step up next year.

“I just can’t stress how hard they worked,” he said of this year’s group. “And how satisfied I am with their effort this last week, their performance and their mindset and mentality. They’ve just been in the right place. And they have just wanted to be great. I can give them all the opportunities to be great, but they really take it and they want to be the best. And that’s just so fun to be a part of.”

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