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Bands ‘great’ at state finals

Bands ‘great’ at state finals
Bands ‘great’ at state finals
Three pit members from the North Harrison Marching Cougars lead the group off the field of the RCA Dome while field commander Melissa Langdon carries their fourth-place trophy. (Photos by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Both marching band directors praised their groups for outstanding performances Saturday in the Indiana State School Music Association’s state marching band competition.
‘You excited me on the sidelines,’ Corydon Central director Ben Hayes told his Vanguard about an hour after the Class C awards ceremony in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. ‘I had a great time.’
And that’s with a 10th-place finish.
Hayes’s counterpart at North Harrison, Gary Crisp, told his Marching Cougars, who were fourth, that he ‘thought the show was great.’
Both bands advanced to state after scoring in the top five at the ISSMA South Regional Oct. 18 in Terre Haute. On Saturday, they were joined by the top five bands from the North Regional. (Bands perform in four classes, with A being the largest, based on school size.)
The Marching Cougars were making their seventh straight ‘ eighth overall ‘ appearance at state, while the Vanguard has now gone to state 10 times since its first trip in 1990.
Hayes told his young group (that included 24 eighth graders among the 90-member marching unit) that he didn’t think they could have done any better.
‘I love every one of you,’ he said. ‘It’s been a great marching year.’
Later, he said it was ‘remarkable’ that such a young bunch did so well.
Hayes, who has announced that next year, his 26th at CCHS, will be his last, said all the practice leading up to Saturday’s competition was not wasted. ‘It’s practice for next year,’ he said.
Later, Hayes hinted at plans for next year’s show and said he hopes to go out on a good note.
Saturdays during competition season are beginning to take a toll on him.
A thunderstorm, complete with severe lightning, hit Indianapolis about the time the bands arrived at the Dome.
Hayes said the Vanguard, which performed a show called ‘Metamorphosis,’ would wear shoes they brought with them as they made their way inside the Dome, then change into marching shoes.
The veteran director had learned the hard way, back in 1991, that wet shoes ‘cling’ to Astroturf. One band member with wet shoes wiped out three other marchers.
Corydon Central senior David Thompson said he gained a new perspective from state competition this year, as he served as the Vanguard’s field commander. Two years ago, Thompson marched on the field.
‘You get such a better understanding’ of the performance standing midfield in front of the entire group, he said.
Thompson plans to attend Ball State University, and he said he’s considering auditioning for field commander there sometime after his freshman year.
Assisting Hayes this year were Tiffany Carver, Micky Emily, Allison Field, Ed Johnson, Chrissie Lowe, Joe Phelps and Blair Winslow.
Soloists in the show were Corey Barnes and Corey Kitterman on horns, Josh Hilbert on baritone, Corey Berry on trombone, and Ian Biesel, trumpet.
Performing a solo in North Harrison’s ‘Cleopatra disCOVERed’ show was flutist Katie Renneker. The music included four songs originally written by Key Poulan. Field commander was senior Melissa Langdon.
The Marching Cougars left school at 6:45 Saturday morning and traveled to Greenfield Central, where they went through their show ‘ until a lightning storm sent everyone back on the buses. (Steve Angel, who worked with the Marching Cougars in the 1990s, is now the director at Greenfield Central.)
The weather wasn’t much better once they parked outside the RCA Dome. A steady rain kept the band on the buses until an ISSMA official ‘stamped’ their hands; then many of the students went in the Dome to watch the conclusion of the Class B competition.
Senior Vicki Sauerheber said she was excited about making it to state. Saturday was her fifth year to go to the Dome for competition. (North Harrison also went to state the two years prior to that.)
Sauerheber said Crisp had told them to get plenty of rest the night before.
During Fall Break, the Marching Cougars gave a public performance of their show Thursday night at the NHHS football field, and on Friday they practiced at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville to give the younger band members a chance to march on Astroturf, the same material the Indianapolis Colts’ play on in the Dome.
Sauerheber said she was not nervous ‘ that only happened the first two years she went to state. This time she was excited. NHHS competed seventh of the 10 Class C bands.
At least the Marching Cougars didn’t finish sixth, quipped Crisp. North’s band members were beginning to feel like they were in a rut, having finished sixth in 2001 and 2002. The two years before that, they were first in their class, and they finished a close second in 1998.
‘We had an outstanding show,’ Crisp said. ‘I thought we might have come up one more place.’
Crisp, who joined the Marching Cougars in 1990, said he was proud of his group that included 21 percussionists, 64 winds, and 14 guard members.
Assistants for the Marching Cougars are Jim Stuppy, Ron McClure Jr., Elyce Foley, Joel McCauley, Sara Miller, Chris Morris, Hank Rothrock and Brad Kramer.
This year’s Class C winner, Lewis Cass, has been to state the past 15 years, finishing first in 1988 and 1995; they were third the past two years.
On their way back to the buses after the awards ceremony, North Harrison’s fans formed a tunnel to greet their Marching Cougars.
‘I thought the show was great,’ Crisp told the group of band members, their parents and fans. ‘We had to fight the weather.
‘Not shabby,’ he said. ‘At least we weren’t sixth.’
He encouraged the group ‘to come back and do it again next year.’
Here is the complete list of how each band finished in the four classes:
Class A ‘ Avon, first; Homestead second; Center Grove, third; Lawrence Central, fourth; Carmel, fifth; Lawrence North, sixth; Ben Davis, seventh; Penn, eighth; Columbus North, ninth; Fort Wayne Snider, 10th;
Class B ‘ Concord, first; Jasper, second; Greenwood, third; Northview, fourth; Elkhart Central, fifth; Fort Wayne North side, sixth; Plainfield, seventh; Lincoln, eighth; East Noble, ninth; New Castle Chrysler, 10th;
Class C ‘ Lewis Cass, first; Gibson Southern, second; Norwell, third; North Harrison, fourth; Scottsburg, fifth; Maconaquah, sixth; New Palestine, seventh; NorthWood, eighth; Concordia Lutheran, ninth; Corydon Central, 10th;
Class D ‘ Paoli, first; Knox, second; Clay City, third; Southridge, fourth; Woodlan, fifth; Tri-West, sixth; Tell City, seventh; Greentown Eastern, eighth; Winchester, ninth; North Posey, 10th.