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Cougars treasure 4th at state

Cougars treasure 4th at state
Cougars treasure 4th at state
The baritone horn section spends time together prior to the group's warm-up period mid-afternoon Saturday.

The North Harrison Marching Cougars went to Indianapolis on Saturday in search of rare treasure and came home with something they would accept: a fourth-place trophy.
‘We can always find a home for this,’ said Gary Crisp, NHHS band director since 1990, as he addressed his throng following the Class C competition of the Indiana State School Music Association marching band competition held in the RCA Dome.
The Marching Cougars and their supporters gathered in the parking lot after the awards ceremony for a few quick announcements under drier skies. It had rained during their entrance almost four hours earlier.
It wasn’t the Marching Cougars’ best finish ever ‘ they won Class C in 1999 and 2000, and were a close second to this year’s winner, Gibson Southern, in 1998 ‘ but the staff was pleased.
‘Fourth place ain’t bad either,’ Crisp told his kids. ‘Hopefully, we can come back next year and try to get a little bigger (trophy).’
The 97 musicians, 14 guard members and staff gathered at North Harrison High School at 7 a.m. Saturday to run through their show before loading up the buses two hours later and heading to the Dome. They were welcomed to Indy by rain.
‘It’s better to be here in the rain than be home where it’s dry,’ said band parent Jean Hobson.
According to the ISSMA, 160 bands with 14,956 students competed at the district level on Oct. 2. The number was reduced to 115 and 11,500 students at the regionals on Oct. 16. Forty bands, with 5,096 students, competed at state in four classes based on school size, with Class A being the largest.
(Several band parents and staff commented that they wished the Corydon Central Vanguard had been there, too. Ben Hayes’ Vanguard has been to state 10 times since 1990.)
The adult chaperones did their best to keep the students on the buses to stay dry until it was time to walk to the home playing field of the Indianapolis Colts.
‘I’m excited,’ said senior Katelyn Tluczek, the Marching Cougars’ field commander. This was her fourth trip to state. In her freshman year, she was a guard member; her sophomore and junior years she played in the pit.
‘The season started out great,’ Tluczek said, but then the group had some trouble keeping their scores up. ‘Regional was one of our downfalls,’ she said.
Still, the Marching Cougars scored high enough to earn one of five coveted slots at the south regional that allowed them to compete at state.
‘I think we have the chance to do really well today,’ said Tluczek, who used a couple of dry cleaners bags to keep her pirate hat and costume dry. Her comrades covered their uniforms with black garbage bags for the trek from the parking lot to the RCA Dome. ISSMA officials allowed their equipment to be hauled in the dry confines of the Marching Cougars’ semi-tractor trailer.
Crisp said he usually sends some students inside the Dome to watch and hear Class B bands, but he wasn’t able to do that Saturday due to time constraints and the weather.
Still, Crisp, who was at state for the eighth straight year, said he felt good about their chances before the tension-filled contest.
‘We’re here to do our best,’ he said. ‘I feel pretty good.’
Crisp said he was hoping to finish in the Top Five, although ‘we always aim for first.’
This year’s show, ‘Treasure Island,’ featured the music of Key Poulan. Selections included ‘Pirates,’ ‘Buried at Sea’ and ‘Pieces of Eight.’ Jim Stuppy is the co-director, and staff members includes Sara Miller, Elyce Foley, Justin Dohoney, Jenny Beadle, Darrel Williamson, Annelle Crisp, Adam Miller and Kevin Kennedy.
Before the kids left the buses, band parent Kirby Bachman carried a small treasure box around so each student could select a ‘magic jewel’ for good luck.
After retrieving their instruments and equipment, the Marching Cougars had their turn in the warm-up area, behind Norwell, who some thought would be Class C state champ.
‘Pay attention to what you’re doing,’ Crisp instructed his group. ‘You won’t have to do this (show) Monday.’
After their show, which lasted about 13 minutes, the Marching Cougars made their way to the stands on the other side of the Dome to watch the last three bands in Class C before the awards ceremony. That included this year’s eventual winner, Gibson Southern, which had an exchange student from Switzerland who played a violin fiddle during the show.
Crisp said NHHS’s show was ‘probably the best show we’ve ever done … It had lots of energy.’
He said their performance started before he was ready. ‘It scared me,’ he said, adding that the students handled it well.
The Marching Cougars were fourth last year with its ‘Cleopatra disCOVERed’ show. Other state finishes for NHHS include sixth in 1997 (‘Legend of the Four Chaplains: The Light Eternal’); second, 1998 (‘Volcano: Nature’s Inferno’); first, 1999 (‘Tribal Ritual’); 2000, first (‘Join Together’); sixth, 2001 (‘Medal of Honor’), and sixth, 2002 (‘Rise and Fall of Rome’).
Crisp said they now have the second longest streak of appearances in Class C, behind Lewis Cass.
‘I think that speaks something for the consistency of our program,’ Crisp said.
Here is how each band finished in the four classes:
Class A ‘ Avon, first; Lawrence Central, second; Ben Davis, third; Homestead, fourth; Castle, fifth; Carmel, sixth; Penn, seventh; Lawrence North, eighth; Fort Wayne Snider, ninth, LaPorte, 10th;
Class B ‘ Northview, first; Concord, second; Jasper, third; Greenwood, fourth; North Side, fifth; Carroll, sixth; Northridge, seventh; Plainfield, eighth; Floyd Central, ninth; Lincoln, 10th;
Class C ‘ Gibson Southern, first; Lewis Cass, second; Norwell, third; North Harrison, fourth; Maconaquah, fifth; Western, sixth; Concordia Lutheran, seventh; Heritage Hills, eighth; Scottsburg, ninth; Boonville, 10th;
Class D ‘ Woodlan, first; Paoli, second; North Posey, third; Taylor, fourth; Fairfield, fifth; Northwestern, sixth; Southridge, seventh; Clay City, eighth; Bluffton, ninth; Forest Park, 10th.