Wildcat, Ranger bands march on to state


Three Dubois County marching bands competed in Indiana State School Music Association semistate contests on Saturday, but only two advanced to the state finals.

The Jasper Marching Wildcats and Forest Park Marching Rangers both punched their tickets to the ISSMA State Finals contest at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday. Jasper will perform in Open Class B at 1:15 p.m. Forest Park will perform in Open Class D at 5:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Southridge Marching Raider Band’s season came to an end over the weekend when the group placed outside the top 10 at Franklin Community High School’s Open Class D semistate contest. Southridge qualified for the finals in each of the previous two seasons, notching a 10th-place finish in 2016 and seventh place in 2017.

Band directors aren’t allowed to release their final scores and placements to the media, but Southridge leader Lannie Butler said his group fell just short of state qualification.

“We put on a pretty strong performance,” he said. “There’s a lot of really good bands there, of course, every year. And it just didn’t happen for us this year. But we’re real proud of what we did.”

Butler expressed pride in his students, adding that this year was a successful one on both individual and bandwide levels. He said the experience is a life lesson for the band’s members. Sometimes the subjective scoring of the activity works in your favor, and sometimes it doesn’t.

“When you play this game, you know what the rules are,” he said. “And it is subjective ... I always tell the kids, it’s kind of like if you’re judging a cookie contest. You’ve got 20 cookies, and you’ve gotta put them in order, and you have six judges that do that. Who knows how it’s going to turn out?”

Still, Butler said this year’s group accomplished as much as any other year. Eight of the ensemble’s members are seniors who will graduate in the spring. Butler plans on attending the state finals next week to see what other groups’ routines look like.

Jasper Director James Goodhue said his band will work to perfect its routine at practices this week.

“We would just like to try to eliminate basic mistakes,” he said. “We’re not changing or adding or doing anything new, so we should be able to keep getting better, I would hope.”

Chad Gayso, Forest Park’s marching band director, said his band members will focus on upping their performance’s emotional input this week.

“As far as their marching and their playing, they’re doing really, really well,” Gayso said. “I think we’re just at that point where they’re kind of ready to take that next step and start adding just more of themselves into the show. Rather than just the notes and the rhythms, and just kind of playing more from the heart.”

Jasper has now qualified for 29 consecutive ISSMA State Finals contests, dating back to 1990. Forest Park has 24 finals appearances in that same stretch.

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