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October 23, 2013 | 09:06 AM

The shows will go on for another Saturday, as marching bands throughout the state travel to selected sites to compete. Some hope to score high enough to earn a place in the state finals, while others look to impress the judges to earn top honors.

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Brooklyn Bottorff, a member of the North Harrison Marching Cougars, goes through tai chi movements at the beginning of the group's show, "Oriental Impressions," Saturday at ISSMA Class C regional competition at Center Grove High School.Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)
The North Harrison Marching Cougars and the Crawford County Marching Wolfpack, in Open Class C and D, respectively, advanced to the Indiana State School Music Association's semi-state on Saturday after earning a gold rating at last Saturday's regional contest. The Corydon Central Vanguard, competing in the new ISSMA Scholastic Class for small bands, earned a place to Saturday's finals on Oct. 12.

"We are working on cleaning what we have as we are done making any additional changes; cleaning is making the music, drill and visual presentation as strong as possible," said Jason Novak, who became the Vanguard's director this summer.

The Vanguard's show, "Mechanize," features original music by John Mapes and Ian Grom of Box Six Productions. The 35 band members use robotic movements and special props while creating special sound effects during the 13-minute routine. While the band, which is in a rebuilding year, doesn't have any soloists, the show does feature the brass, woodwinds and percussion sections at various times.

"I am very excited for our kids to have the opportunity to experience a finals performance," Novak said. "They have come a long way in a relatively short time, and I am proud of their accomplishments."

The Vanguard will compete at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. The day will begin with the small bands at 11 a.m. followed by the large bands. The line-up for the small bands is: Charlestown, 11 a.m.; Southwestern, 11:13 a.m.; Owen Valley, 11:26 a.m.; Eastern (Pekin), 11:39 a.m.; Morristown, 11:52 a.m.; break; Pioneer, 12:57 p.m.; Manchester, 1:10 p.m.; Corydon Central, 1:23 p.m.; Whitko, 1:36 p.m.; Salem, 1:49 p.m.; Bremen, 2:02 p.m.; awards. (Large bands will begin at 3:59 p.m.)

"We have an excellent draw in Saturday's contest in that we are in the back half of the performance order," Novak said. "I am sure that, like open class, the judges will be looking for bands that are musically and visually polished since it is the end of the season and the peak of what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of July."

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Ashley Bowles and Jacob Beckman do a free-fall in the Crawford County Marching Wolfpack's show, "Swan Lake," at Evansville Central High School in Class D. Photo by Chris Adams (click for larger version)
About 25 miles to the southwest of Lawrence Central is where the Marching Cougars will be competing for one of 10 spots to the ISSMA state finals the following Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. The group won state in 1999 and 2000.

"The best aspect of our performance at regional was the passion that each student showed on the field," said Adam Miller, who is now the director after serving the previous year as assistant director. "Gold ratings and semi-state aside, what band is really about is seeing our students grow as performers and as people throughout the season. When I see the passion and dedication they bring to our group, I realize how lucky I am to be their director."

The Marching Cougars' show, "Oriental Impressions," features "Inchon" by R.W. Smith, "Impressions of Japan" by James Barnes and "Variations on a Korean Folk Song" by John Barnes Chance. The group has 63 members this year.

Miller said this week "is not really about trying to beat other bands or achieve a particular ranking. Our goal is always the pursuit of excellence and to reach the potential of this particular year's students. If that is our goal, we will be a successful group regardless of how the placing ends up."

The line-up at Decatur Central in Open Class C is: Edgewood, 1 p.m.; Maconaquah, 1:13 p.m. Western, 1:26 p.m.; Tri-West, 1:39 p.m.; Beech Grove, 1:52 p.m.; break; Danville, 2:19 p.m.; Northwestern, 2:31 p.m.; Twin Lakes, 2:44 p.m.; Lincoln, 2:57 p.m.; North Harrison, 3:10 p.m.; break; Scottsburg, 3:49 p.m.; Concordia Lutheran, 4:02 p.m.; Norwell, 4:15 p.m.; John Glenn, 4:28 p.m.; Leo, 4:41 p.m.; break; Boonville, 5:07 p.m.; Fairfield, 5:20 p.m.; Angola, 5:33 p.m.; Mount Vernon, 5:46 p.m.; NorthWood, 5:59 p.m.; awards, 6:42 p.m.

The Marching Wolfpack will be about 23 miles southeast, at Franklin Community High School, where the Open Class D bands will compete, with the top 10 bands advancing to state on Nov. 2.

"I was pretty pleased with the performance," John Fischer, director of the Marching Wolfpack since 2006, said of his group's show, "Swan Lake," at regional. "We had our rough spots for sure, but the kids really stepped up the intensity to the show and the energy in the performance. This is exactly what we asked them to do ... "

In addition to the gold rating, the Marching Wolfpack received a "With Distinction in Effect" award.

"We had a good feeling about moving on, but you know nothing is guaranteed," Fischer said. "So we approached (the performance) with the attitude that it needed to be a no-doubter that we deserved a gold."

This week, Fischer has his group — 34 horns, 13 percussion, 13 colorguard and two conductors — working on their individual details.

"Our kids are well-trained in how to perform; now it is just about making sure they are doing it all the time as individuals," Fischer said. "We have a few small visuals to add in as well to put the absolute finishing touches on the show."

The group has only been competing since 2006 and, for the first time, last year advanced to semi-state. Fischer said they are excited about returning.

"Last year, we were just happy to be there," he said. "This year, we have bigger aspirations. We feel that we have a good shot at advancing on to the state finals."

The group's goal remains the same: "Our main goal is for the kids to come off the field feeling great," Fischer said. "The kids have absolutely no control over the scores. What they do have control over is how they perform."

The line-up for Class D is: Shortridge, 1 p.m.; Clay City, 1:13 p.m.; Monrovia, 1:26 p.m.; Taylor, 1:39 p.m.; Clinton Prairie, 1:52 p.m.; break; Henryville, 2:18 p.m.; Triton Central, 2:31 p.m.; Orleans, 2:44 p.m.; Bluffton, 2:57 p.m.; Eastern (Greentown), 3:10 p.m.; break; Crawford County, 3:49 p.m.; Paoli, 4:02 p.m.; Springs Valley, 4:15 p.m.; Lewis Cass, 4:28 p.m.; Evansville Mater Dei, 4:41 p.m.; break; North Posey, 5:07 p.m.; Woodlan, 5:20 p.m.; South Spencer, 5:33 p.m.; Adams Central, 5:46 p.m.; Forest Park, 5:59 p.m.; awards, 6:12 p.m.

Also on Saturday, Open Class A will be at Ben Davis High School and Class B will be at Pike High School.

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