Rainy weekends ‘a bummer’ for marching bands


Three weeks into their 2018 competition season, area high school marching bands are fighting against wet weekends as they gear up for the annual Indiana State School Music Association contests next month.

While the weekly competitions do not have any direct bearing in whether or not the schools qualify for the ISSMA State Finals and ISSMA Scholastic State Finals in early November and late October, area band directors agreed that performing in them is important and provides valuable experience for the kids in preparing them for those big events.

Most groups began their exhibition season on Saturday, Sept. 8, but have already been forced off football fields and into gymnasiums — or out of competitions entirely — on more than one occasion.

Saturday, for example, the Northeast Dubois Marching Jeeps competed indoors at the Floyd Central High School Invitational because of the steady rain that fell across the region. It marked the second of three contests that the group was forced to play in a gym, a hindrance that Band Director David Fox said throws off the choreography of the routine and doesn’t do the Jeeps any favors as they work to fine tune their show.

“It’s kind of a bummer to have to deal with that,” he said. “Our show is pretty involved and very cool, but when there’s no marching and it’s just playing, the whole effect doesn’t come across to the audience. So, it’s a little bit of a bummer. But I’m sure, again, all bands have that struggle as well.”

At Floyd Central, the Jeeps placed third in Class A and earned awards for best percussion and best drum major in their class. The band will compete at 7:22 p.m. Saturday in the D Class at the Springs Valley Festival of Marching Bands.

The Forest Park Marching Rangers also competed indoors at Floyd Central on Saturday, claiming first place in Class 3A and earning class awards for best color guard and best drum major.

Chad Gayso, the band’s instructor, was also disappointed with the rainout.

“All week you look forward to that Saturday,” he said. “You just work all week for that one performance. And then not being able to do everything is kind of a bummer.”

Like the Jeeps, the Rangers will also perform Saturday at Springs Valley. They will begin their routine at 8:14 p.m.

The Jasper Marching Wildcats were slated to leave Dubois County early Saturday morning to compete at the Murray State University Festival of Champions in Murray, Kentucky, but did not venture to the event due to the forecasted rain. The contest was later canceled.

The Wildcats have performed outside at a competition only once this year.

“It matters because we do have a lot of young people, so they just haven’t had many chances so far,” said Jasper Band Director James Goodhue.

Jasper will compete at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the Louisville Ballard High School Bruin Invitational, and potentially again in a finals competition later that day.

The Southridge Marching Raiders placed second in Class 1A at the Evansville North Invitational on Saturday. That event was also pushed inside due to the rain. The Raiders were recognized for having the best color guard in the class. The group will compete at 5:26 p.m. CDT Saturday at the Evansville Harrison High School Invitational.

The Heritage Hills Marching Patriots did not compete Saturday. Their next competition is on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the F.J. Reitz High School Drill on the Hill.

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