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Two drummers for the Corydon Central Vanguard play their part of the show "Mechanize" Saturday night at the Salem Invitational. The Vanguard won its class, A, and earned several caption awards. On Saturday, CCHS will compete in the ISSMA Scholastic Small division in Jasper. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)

Rain, ISSMA change things up

October 09, 2013 | 10:15 AM

On a Saturday that's long been the district competition of the Indiana State School Music Association's marching band program, groups normally giving it their all to advance to regional found themselves at invitationals.

A colorguard member of the North Harrison Marching Cougars twirls a flag Saturday afternoon at a community performance in Ramsey that was moved indoors because of rain. The group traveled to Salem later in the day but then opted not to compete because of the weather. On Saturday, NHHS will compete at the Cavalcade of Champions at Center Grove High School. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)
That's because, after 40 years, the ISSMA changed its classification structure. Now, 176 state marching bands will choose between festival, scholastic and open class. The open class is most like the past structure, with bands competing to earn a state berth at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis; it just eliminated the district level but still requires bands to advance from regional to semi-state then to state.

The festival class focuses more on the music and is non-competitive, while the scholastic class not only considers band size, but school enrollment.

Jason Novak, the first-year director of the Corydon Central Vanguard, which has just 39 members this year and no colorguard, opted to make this a rebuilding year. Under the ISSMA's old structure, the Vanguard made 10 trips to the state finals between 1990 and 2003.

Novak was encouraged by his group's showing Saturday at the Salem Invitational. The rain held off for the performance of "Mechanize" and the football field was in fairly good shape, with just a tarp covering a mudhole near centerfield. Competing in Class A (the smallest of the four classes), the Vanguard placed first and earned Best Music, Best Visual, Best General Effect and Best Percussion.

Charlestown finished second and earned Best Auxiliary, while West Washington placed third and received Best Drum Major.

On Saturday, the Vanguard will travel to Jasper to compete at 12:18 p.m. in Scholastic Small against Charlestown (12:05 p.m.), Salem (12:31 p.m.), Northeast Dubois (12:44 p.m.) and Eastern (Pekin) (12:57 p.m.). Following the awards, three bands will compete in Scholastic Large. Gates at Jasper will open at 11:30 a.m.

The North Harrison Marching Cougars also traveled Saturday to Salem after giving an indoor community performance of their show, "Oriental Impressions," at the high school in Ramsey (rain forced the show indoors) but opted not to compete due to the weather, which dumped bouts of heavy rain in the area before the contest reached Class AAA. Only Paoli performed in that class.

Bonnie Harmon, Salem's band director, said it had rained just twice on the Marching Lions' contest date, with the last in 2001.

Rain forced the performances inside the Springs Valley gymnasium at Saturday night's Festival of Marching Bands. Percussionist Jessie Stephenson, above, and the rest of the Marching Wolfpack perform their show, "Swan Lake." The event was an exhibition (no scores given). Photo by Chris Adams (click for larger version)
Adam Miller, the Marching Cougars' director this year, said, "Even though this weekend was a wash-out, we were still able to accomplish a great deal. We were able to use our indoor time to focus on music, which sometimes gets behind when we concentrate so much on our marching technique.

"It is also good to have a rainy weekend, because it may just happen that a regional or semi-state event may have to be moved indoors," he said. "In that case, it is good that we have last weekend's experience to learn how to listen and adjust to an indoor performance environment."

This Saturday, the Marching Cougars will compete in Class C at the Cavalcade of Champions at Center Grove High School south of Indianapolis. The class will begin at 3:26 with NHHS taking the field at 4:18. Other bands in the class (in order of appearance) are Indian Creek, Danville, Scottsburg, Paoli, Beech Grove, Edgewood and Western. The contest will contintue with Class B at 5:53 and Class A at 8:03.

"It will be good to get used to (Center Grove's) stadium because next week's regional is in the exact same place," Miller said.

Gates will open at 2 p.m. Admission will be $7 for adults and $5 for students.

The Crawford County Marching Wolfpack participated in Saturday's Festival of Marching Bands at Springs Valley High School. Due to the rain, the bands performed stand-stills in the school gymnasium and were not scored.

"We had a lot of great comments from the judging panel ... continue to get excellent reviews for our colorguard," director John Fischer said. "We are going to continue tweaking our drill movements this week ... We are also going to refine and clarify some musical spots to really add the most impact to our show."

Saturday's Open Exhibition will begin at 3:59 p.m. Tell City will begin the class, followed by Orleans (4:12 p.m.), Perry Central (4:25 p.m.), Springs Valley (4:38 p.m.), Crawford County (4:51 p.m.) and Forest Park (5:04 p.m.). Following that will be Class C at 5:30 and Class B at 6:35.

The Marching Wolfpack's show is titled "Swan Lake."

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