By JOHN KLINE
---- — GOSHEN — For Tom Cox, director of bands for Goshen Community Schools, Saturday’s ninth place finish at this year’s state marching band finals in Indianapolis proved a strong end to a tough but exhilarating season.
“I thought it was a strong performance,” Cox said of the competition. “I was really pleased with it.”
This year marked a switch to Class A for the Goshen marching band, which for the past three years has competed at the smaller Class B level.
Class A, which includes Indiana’s highest population schools, placed Goshen in direct competition with some of the best bands in the state — and the nation — this year. The last time Goshen competed at the Class A level was 2009, where the band also turned out a strong ninth place finish at state finals.
“It’s the class with the largest schools in Indiana,” Cox said, noting that at least five of this year’s Class A bands have been national champions at one time or another. “The last three years we’ve been in Class B, and we were actually one of the bigger schools in Class B. This year though we were just one student over the line from being a Class B band, so we ended up being the smallest school in the biggest class as far as student population goes.”
While some bands may have been intimidated by such storied competition, Cox said he and his band saw their new Class A rank as both a challenge and a great learning experience.
“When you’re included in that kind of a mix, to be on the field with people like that, that’s great company to have,” Cox said.
Now that the competition is over, emotions are high among his band members, Cox said, though there is a note of sadness among some of the band’s seniors as Saturday’s competition marked their final marching band competition before graduation.
“The seniors are a little down because this was their last one, and the freshmen I think still aren’t quite sure what to think,” Cox said. “After being in Class B for quite a while, this last year has been a bit of an education for some of our parents and students. But ninth place is great. We’re very happy with that.”
Looking back on this year’s season, Cox said he is consistently moved by the outpouring of support the band receives from the Goshen community.
“When I first moved to Goshen, one of the great things I noticed about it is that it’s a one high school town, which is pretty cool,” Cox said. “We just can’t say enough how much we appreciate that community support.”
Follow government reporter John Kline @jkline_TGN