Marching bands keep eye on prize


Following the weekend’s Indiana State School Music Association regional marching band contests, all four local bands are still in the hunt for a state title in their respective classes.

The Jasper Marching Wildcats, Southridge Marching Raiders and Forest Park Marching Rangers each earned gold ratings and netted top 10 finishes at the Evansville Central regional over the weekend. All three will advance to semistate contests on Saturday, Oct. 28, while the Northeast Dubois Marching Jeeps are slated to compete this Saturday in the ISSMA Scholastic Finals.

On Oct. 28, Jasper will compete at 3:10 p.m. in the Open Class B semistate contest at Pike High School in northwest Indianapolis. Only 10 of the 20 bands present at the event will advance to the state finals Saturday, Nov. 4, at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.

Band Director James Goodhue said Saturday’s regional performance marked the first time the group performed the entirety of its 2017 show, titled “City of Gold.” He wants to spend the next couple weeks cleaning up the performance.

The Marching Wildcats will also participate in the Music City Invitational at McGavock High School in Nashville, Tennessee, this Saturday at 3:15 CDT with an additional finals round later that evening. This invitational does not directly impact the band’s upcoming semistate contest.

Oct. 28, the Southridge and Forest Park bands will perform at the Franklin Community High School Open Class D semistate contest. Just as with Jasper’s class, only the top 10 bands will advance to the state competition. Southridge will perform at 2:57 p.m. and Forest Park will take the field immediately after at 3:10 p.m.

At Evansville Central over the weekend, Southridge earned a top 10 gold rating, while Forest Park received a top 10 gold rating with distinguished awards in music, visual and general effect.

“Overall, we’re feeling pretty good about things,” said Southridge Band Director Lannie Butler. “We’re just ready to fine-tune, clean it up. Get that individual consistency to happen, and that will improve the full ensemble effect.”

Butler said he’s not a fan of the county’s schools’ fall break taking place next week because the band and football team are in postseason mode, but he’s hoping to make the most of it.

“Everybody’s busy at school, so it’s kind of silly,” he said. “But at the same time, it’ll be nice to have a day or two off there and then everybody will be pretty focused because they won’t have a lot of other school things going on.”

Forest Park will also participate in the Bands of America Super Regional at Lucas Oil Stadium at 2:45 p.m. this Saturday. This contest won’t affect the group’s semistate contest on Oct. 28. Southridge will not compete at a contest this weekend but will host a community performance at 7 p.m. Saturday at Raider Field.

Northeast Dubois will compete at approximately 2:15 p.m. this Saturday at the ISSMA Scholastic Finals contest at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. This marks the second consecutive year the Marching Jeeps have qualified for the event in Scholastic Class B — the smaller of the two Scholastic classes. Those classes are designed for smaller bands with fewer resources than those in the ISSMA Open Class.

Only the top five places are announced at the Scholastic Finals award ceremony, and last year the Northeast Dubois marching band did not make the top five. Sixteen finalists will compete in the Scholastic Class B Finals this season.

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