The Nov. 3 Goshen Crimson Marching Band’s second-place finish at state brought back 25-year-old memories of “The Band from Nowhere,” as The Goshen News lovingly dubbed us in print.
We had suffered a huge disappointment in 1986 when I was a sophomore. I think we all felt we had performed more than well enough at regionals to make state for the first time. But in marching band, there is no ball through a hoop to determine who wins or loses. There are human beings with their own peeves and preferences watching from a booth who determine your fate.
WE BOUNCED BACK from the disappointment and had a great early season in 1987. We were sweeping caption awards and the color guard, which I was part of, was scoring well. Things were just clicking that year. Yes, there was extra practice, hard work, great choreography and music. But with marching bands it is more than that. It really is a click. It is hard to explain, but you know it when you feel it.
And then, at regional competition, history was made. The band scored high enough to qualify for state competition for the first time. Not only scored high enough, we found out later — we were in first place.
We were headed to the Hoosier Dome.
THERE WAS NO semi-state competition back then. Bands went from regionals to state the next week. I don’t remember much about the week in between. I’m sure we had extra practices. But I do remember being told we were going to be the first band in our class to compete. “Yikes” does not begin to describe that news.
The actual performance is a blur. But I do remember our directors, Dave Plank and Max Mault, telling us that no matter what the outcome was, we were to comport ourselves with dignity. We were to stand at attention and save our emotion — good or bad — for after the awards.
And then the announcer started naming bands. And naming them, and naming them.
It started to feel like a giant shiver was going through the entire band, but we stayed in formation. Finally it was down to three bands: Northview, Goshen and Greenwood, the reigning champ and a perpetual powerhouse. We tied for second with Northview on our first trip to state.