Marching Jeeps clinch gold, qualify for state finals

Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Northeast Dubois senior drum major Gabby Sander conducts the band during musical warm-up at Saturday's ISSMA Marching Band Scholastic Prelims and Open Class Invitational at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper. For more photos from the competition, click here.

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — Gold rained at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper on Saturday when all four Dubois County marching bands earned gold ratings at the annual Indiana State School Music Association Scholastic Class Prelims and Open Class Invitational.

The top honors were sweet for all the groups, but the recognition was season-making for the Northeast Dubois Marching Jeeps, who now advance to the ISSMA Scholastic Class Finals later this month. Unlike the bands in the Open Class Invitational, Northeast Dubois needed a gold rating to qualify for the Scholastic Class Finals at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Jeeps will move on to that competition in Scholastic Class B despite a sound system malfunction during Saturday’s performance that silenced the ensemble’s electronic keyboards, synthesizer and other sounds vital to the performance.

“Without those, the show’s not even close to the same,” Band Director David Fox said shortly after the Scholastic Class awards were announced. “I think where we stood with all the other groups, I feel good about where we would have been if we had all that stuff there.”

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Forest Park drum major Elise Herndon conducts the band as they perform at Saturday's ISSMA Marching Band Scholastic Prelims and Open Class Invitational at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper. For more photos from the competition, click here.

This marks the third consecutive year the group has advanced to the peak competition in the class. Drum Major Gabby Sander said she will encourage her bandmates to continue trying their best at every practice between now and the finals.

Jordan Baker, a senior bass drum player, said the Marching Jeeps have room to improve, but when he looks back at this season, he remembers how far the performers have already come.

The finals competition will mark the end of an era for Dubois County’s smallest band. Ten of the group’s 29 members are seniors.

“They’re going to have to prove next year that tradition doesn’t graduate,” Fox said. “And that’s going to be the motto next year, I’m pretty sure. They’re going to have to show up. But, I’ve got confidence in them. I’m excited for the next two weeks, I’m excited for the rest of the school year, and I’m excited for the future. We’ve got a good thing going.”

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Southridge eighth-grader Gracie Stasel, left, and freshman Emily Roby help each other stretch during musical warm-up at Saturday's ISSMA Marching Band Scholastic Prelims and Open Class Invitational at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper. For more photos from the competition, click here.

In the Open Class Invitational, the Jasper Marching Wildcats earned their gold rating in Open Class B, while the Southridge Marching Raider Band and Forest Park Marching Rangers received their golds in Open Class D. Jasper received distinctions in the categories of music, visual and effect; Southridge earned distinctions in music and effect; and Forest Park received distinctions for the show’s music, visual and effect.

Each of those bands will compete at ISSMA regional competitions on Saturday. Jasper will compete at 12:31 p.m. at Center Grove High School in Greenwood. Southridge will perform at 11:13 a.m. CDT at Evansville Central High School, and Forest Park will perform their show at 1:49 p.m. CDT at Evansville Central. If the bands place in the top 10 at their respective regional sites, they will advance to semistate competitions on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Jasper Band Director James Goodhue said his band’s performance was OK and the routine is becoming more automatic as members build confidence. Saturday marked the first time Forest Park played through their entire show, and Director Chad Gayso was pleased with the run.

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Jasper Marching Wildcats seniors Nick Bell, Nathan Freyberger and sophomore Amaya Knies perform at Saturday's ISSMA Marching Band Scholastic Prelims and Open Class Invitational at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper. For more photos from the competition, click here.

Southridge Director Lannie Butler said that even though the invitational didn’t directly impact any of the open class’ chances of making it to ISSMA Open Class State Finals, the experience is valuable for both the kids and adult leaders.

“This event is a good practice run for regional,” he said, explaining that the scoring and rules are identical to the upcoming competitions. “The one thing we want to get out of it is just a good, solid performance to build on for the next performance. It’s a good assessment ... it kind of gives you a chance to see how you stack up with groups in your class before you head to the regional.”




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