By JENNIFER MEIER
Saturday started out as a day local high school bands could polish their shows before regional competition this week, but a few bands now have trophies to polish as well.
The Elkhart Memorial Crimson Chargers hosted their first marching band invitational for schools under the umbrella of the Indiana State School Music Association. The ISSMA sponsors the highly-competitive marching band comptitions that take place each Saturday in the fall.
Bands compete in divisions based on enrollment. Here’s a look at each division from the Elkhart event.
Only two bands performed in Class A competition, with Goshen High School’s show, Jacob’s Ladder, capturing the Best Visual, Best Music and Best General Effect awards along with a first place score of 81.30. The judges placed Penn High School’s show, ConNEXTion, second with a score of 78.25.
“All the bells and whistles are starting to come in so we feel good about that,” said Goshen’s Band Director Tom Cox. “I think it was a solid performance.”
Cox said he was pleased to be in the neighborhood for the sixth week of marching band competition.
“Kurt Weimer (Memorial High School’s band Director) has been a long-time friend. We went to college together,” Cox said. “So anything we can do to support each other — you know neighbors have got to help neighbors!”
Drum Major Alex Pobocik attributed some of the night’s success to the guidance of Richard Saucedo, former director of bands at Carmel High School and currently the chief judge for Bands of America. He is also a prolific composer and arranger.
“Monday we had a really awesome band expert (Saucedo) come in who has worked with national champions around the world. He taught us some things and we’ve been implementing them throughout the week,” Pobocik said. “The focus was more on quality and less on quantity and I think it really showed. We may not have been as loud as other bands, but we played together and we did that really well.”
The Marching Minutemen of Concord High School repeated their last contest performance, sweeping all the caption awards and placing first in Class B competition.
Their show, “RISE — The Revolution Within,” earned Concord 78.90 points from the judges, almost five points higher than their score at the Penn Kingsmen Carnival of Bands on Sept. 28.
While the band’s director, Scott Spradling, was in New York attending meetings for the band’s upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance, Assistant Director Steve Peterson oversaw Saturday night’s show at Memorial.
“I was really proud of the band’s efforts. They not only marched well, they played beautifully in this contest setting,” Peterson said.
Munster High School’s “The Girl in the Red Dress, Be Careful What You Ask For,” show earned the band a second place finish with a score of 74.
The Raider Band of Northridge High School placed third with a score of 71.60.
Saturday night was the first time during this marching season that the band’s show, “Absolute Power,” was performed in its entirety.
“I felt like this performance was very exciting,” said Assistant Band Director Bryce Cone. “Some of the things they did were the best they’ve ever done them. We’ll be interested to see what the judges say about it.”
Band Director Brad Zook felt this performance was the culmination of a hard week of practice.
“They were exhausted by the end, but they made it through,” Zook said. “They did a fantastic job all week and finished with a great job tonight.”
Elkhart Central placed fourth with a score of 69.05 and Plymouth came in fifth with a score of 68.05.
NorthWood placed fourth in Class C at Snider High School’s Mighty Panther Parade of Champions in Fort Wayne Saturday. They scored 66.75 points. Concordia Lutheran swept the caption awards and placed first with 71.65 points. Second and third place went to Norwell (69.30) and Maconaquah (68.55), respectively.
The Marching Pride of Fairfield Junior/Senior High School did not perform this weekend.
Several of the bands at Saturday night’s Crimson Charger competition sported purple ribbons to show support for Sarah Crane, a Memorial High School sophomore who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
A network of friends, family and other supporters in her fight against cancer have banded together as Sarah Strong, selling T-shirts and organizing events to help pay for medical bills and rally around the family of the 15-year-old.
Northridge High School placed a Sarah Strong banner on the drum major platform and Goshen High School band members not only wore purple ribbons, but unveiled a Sarah Strong banner during the Saturday night performance.
Dee Creviston, president of the Goshen Band Boosters, as well as other Goshen band parents decided to include the banner as part of the show.
“We are not just a school family, we are all a band family,” Creviston said. “We wanted to show Sarah and her family that we are behind them in this fight.”
All the Crimson Marching Band members signed a card for Crane. The card and the banner will be presented to the family at a later date.
ISSMA Regional Band competition is Saturday.
Class A and C bands will perform at Chesterton High School. In Class C competition, NorthWood plays at 11:26 a.m., Fairfield performs at 1:36 p.m. and Wawasee at 2:54 p.m.
Goshen performs at 7:14 p.m. in Class A.
Class D and B regionals will be held at Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, with Northridge performing at 4:38 p.m. and Concord at 6:22 p.m.