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Marching bands ready for competition after challenging summer

It was a summer of rebuilding and healing for the Corydon Central Vanguard and North Harrison Marching Cougars. On Saturday, they’ll get their first feedback from judges as to how they’re doing when they host their own invitationals and compete at each other’s.
The Vanguard is starting with a new director, Josh Stewart, after longtime teacher and music leader Ben Hayes retired at the end of the 2004-05 school year.
‘I’m definitely excited about taking over,’ said Stewart, 22, who played trumpet in the Vanguard under Hayes.
The 2001 CCHS graduate majored in music education at the University of Louisville. Near the end of the last school year, Stewart began getting ready for his new position by having meetings with the staff who would assist him in the fall competition season.
Then there was the challenging week of band camp. With major renovations taking place at the Corydon campus, Stewart’s practice area was confined to a small portion of the Corydon Intermediate School’s parking lot, which was fenced off for student safety.
Ongoing construction noise, both day and evening, made it difficult for the musicians as they worked to put together their new show, ‘Emotions: The Human Spectrum.’
Both the Vanguard and Marching Cougars had to contend with hot and extremely humid conditions in late July during week-long camps at their schools. The weather broke about mid-week, providing some relief for North Harrison’s camp that was held the week after Corydon Central’s.
Gary Crisp, band director at North Harrison since 1990, was healing from hip replacement surgery. Told by doctors to allow eight weeks for recovery, Crisp was putting the Marching Cougars band members through the paces of their show, ‘Luna-Sol,’ only five weeks after his May 31 surgery.
After losing 15 band members to graduation, Crisp said his group is about 115 strong, but 35 to 40 of them are marching for the first time.
With each grade pretty balanced, Crisp said they will definitely feel the loss next year when 26 seniors graduate.
Crisp said his band students this year may be his best yet. Impressive words from a band director who’s musicians have made nine appearances since 1992 at the Indiana State School Music Association’s state finals and won the coveted title in 1999 and 2000.
The Marching Cougars will be wearing new uniforms, replacing those that were purchased in the early 1990s. ‘We have a brand new look this year,’ Crisp said. ‘It’s a more updated, contemporary look.’
The North Harrison High School Band Invitational begins at 11 a.m.
Scheduled to appear are:
Class D ‘ Perry Central, 11 a.m.; Eastern, 11:15 a.m.; Orleans, 11:30 a.m.; Henryville, 11:45 a.m.;
Class C ‘ Silver Creek, noon; Corydon Central, 12:15 p.m.;
Class B/A ‘ Paoli, 12:30 p.m.; Clay City, 12:45 p.m.; Floyd Central, 1 p.m.; New Albany, 1:15 p.m.; Bedford North Lawrence, 1:30 p.m.
The Marching Cougars will perform in exhibition at 1:45 p.m. Awards will follow at 2 p.m.
The First Capital Marching Festival begins at 6 p.m. Detailed information was unavailable at press time.
Concessions will be available at both contests.