By JENNIFER MEIER
Five local high school bands will compete in regional events Saturday for a chance to move on toward the state finals. The bands will compete at two locations based on their classes.
Class B competition
Fifteen bands will compete for one of the top 10 spots in Class B at Chesterton High School. The top marching bands will head to semi-state on Oct. 27 in Indianapolis.
Class B competition begins at 4:51 p.m. and the Northridge Raider Band will be the first local band on the field at 6:35 p.m.
So far Northridge is the only band performing without props.
“The music is so interesting, the show stands on its own,” said Director Brad Zook. “However, we are adding more visual elements as we near the end of the season.”
Right now the band members are continuing with their regular rehearsal schedule focusing on the show’s details.
“Everything has improved tremendously this season compared to last. The students continue to get better at each rehearsal and they are very enthusiastic about the show,” Zook said.
Northridge’s show, “Et In Terra Pax” (And On Earth, Peace) showcases the music of composer Jan Ven Der Roost.
The Goshen Crimson Marching Band will head onto the field at 7:01 p.m. with “Musica d’organo,” a performance that won the band a spot in the Bands of America Grand Nationals in early November.
“We are very excited to continue perfecting our show. This time of year is about details and cleaning the show,” said Director Tom Cox. “We continue to adjust things musically to better achieve success for our students.”
Last weekend’s BOA regional event in an enclosed stadium was a whole new experience for many band members.
“We try to stay consistent in our practice routine. As we get closer to the time we anticipate being in Lucas Oil Stadium, we may experiment with cotton balls in our ears to have our students train themselves on watching and not listening so much,” Cox said. “The acoustics in the big venues will be different than playing outside. We experienced this in Pontiac (Silverdome) this weekend.”
The Goshen band has added front blinds to its show and Cox said the directors continue to add to the choreography.
“The show is complete, although we are never really done,” Cox said. “We continue to refine and adjust, add different visuals and finish the drill. The kids continue to achieve great things and we are proud of each student.”
The Concord Marching Minutemen will take the field at 7:53 p.m. with their performance, “Clash of Patterns.”
Under the direction of Scott Spradling, the band won the state Class B championship last year. So far, Spradling is pleased with this season’s progress.
“The show is challenging us to perform at our highest level and we’re still working to meet our full potential,” Spradling said. “We finished the show last week and began work on detailing all of the elements.”
Although practices remain the same, Spradling sees one major difference.
“We are raising the expectation for each student to perform at a higher level. At the start of the season, we celebrated achievements by the students that were more broad and general,” he said. “Now we are getting more specific in assisting each student to be successful.”
Show flags, handled by the band’s 28 color guard members, will make their first appearance this weekend, said Spradling, thanks to the band’s sewing committee.
“I think the students are focused on preparing for their best performance so far. I am not sure if I ever feel totally ready, but with the great work going on between our students on our experienced staff, we hope to present a good show — we hope every band has a great performance this weekend.”
Class C competition
NorthWood and Fairfield high schools will represent the local bands in Class C marching band regionals at Lafayette Jefferson High School Saturday.
The Fairfield Pride Marching Band, under the direction of Andrew Muth, is the third in the lineup of 17 bands competing for a top 10 spot.
The band’s show, “One,” said Muth, represents the American resolve to overcome and rise above challenges.
“We understand the what and why and now we are moving on to refining the how,” Muth said. “I’m a firm believer in the why of a program — it adds validity to what we are doing. Students have more ownership of the show and it makes addressing small individual issues seem less daunting.”
The season has been a positive one for this first-year director.
“(It’s been) great so far. We’ve made getting better each week our priority and I’m happy to report that we’ve done just that, not only from a score standpoint, but from just a purely performance aspect as well,” Muth said. “We made sure we had a good understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it. The judging community has agreed that we have really mastered these two elements.”
Although the band is focusing on details now, Muth said the band will add a few more new aspects to the show.
“We still have several surprises up our sleeve,” Muth said. “We have one major moment left that is truly the heart of the show itself. It’s going to be spectacular. It’s not the staff’s show anymore. We’ve turned it over to the kids and I think everyone at Fairfield is excited to see where they can take it.”
The Red Regiment Marching Band of NorthWood High School will take the field in the afternoon with its performance of “Sunday in the Park.”
Even with half of the 64-member band being freshman, Director Eric Criss is satisfied with the band’s progress this season.
“This past Saturday was very exciting,” Criss said. “Our students are prepared!”
On Oct. 6, NorthWood competed in the Plymouth High School Invitational, placing second and receiving the caption award for Best Music and tying for Best Percussion with the first place band, Western High School from Russiaville.
“We are preparing for regionals the same way we have for all contests,” Criss said. “We are cleaning music and drill and adding a few small visuals.”