Marching Cougars place fifth at state
The North Harrison Marching Cougars helped keep band director Jim Stuppy’s percentage up Saturday by finishing fifth in the Indiana State School Music Association’s state marching band finals.
As the band performed to warm up inside the RCA Dome before their turn on the Indianapolis Colts’ home field, Stuppy, who’s been a director in the North Harrison Community School Corp. for seven years, looked over the program and selected which of the 10 bands in Class C he thought would finish in the top five.
About 2-1/2 hours later, Stuppy learned he was three for five, not quite as good as his picks a week earlier at ISSMA regional when he correctly chose four of the five bands that would advance to state.
A fifth-place finish isn’t the Marching Cougars’ best ‘ they won state in 1999 and 2000 and narrowly finished second in 1998 ‘ but everyone seemed pleased.
‘Fifth is very good,’ said Gary Crisp, NHHS band director since 1985. ‘I’m happy with it.’
After seeing the scores, he said it was close ‘from top to bottom’ between the 10 bands, with not much of a point spread between them.
Seniors Amelia Sadler and Kyle Black said after their performance that it was their ‘best show ever’ since they were eighth graders and expected to finish in the top five. Both said they will miss being in the band but intend to come back next year and watch the Marching Cougars. Perhaps one day they’ll be directors at NHHS, as both said that’s what they will study when they head to college next fall, Sadler at Indiana University and Black at the University of Louisville.
Sunny, blue skies and mild temperatures greeted the Marching Cougars when they arrived in Indy just after noon Saturday, exiting their buses in the shadow of Lucas Oil Stadium, which is under construction. This was NHHS’s 10th consecutive trip to state band finals. Only Lewis Cass has a longer string of appearances ‘ 14 ‘ since 1992. (This year Lewis Cass was in Class D.) Gibson Southern made its ninth straight appearance in that class.
Crisp said his group wasn’t able to get much marching practice the week leading up to state because of rain. ‘The weather played havoc,’ he said, adding they were able to run through their show, ‘Linearism: The Shape of Things,’ on Friday at Cardinal Stadium on Astroturf.
Of the 90 members, about 20 were playing for the first time in the expansive Dome. Freshmen Jonathan East and Jacob Rogers, both trombonists, didn’t agree whether they were nervous but they said they knew Saturday was their last chance to play and ‘get it right.’
‘There’s no chance to correct it,’ East said.
Senior Adam Copelin, who also plays the trombone, told the newbies that the ‘sound is going to be terrible in there from our point of view’ before the group entered the Dome.
Mike Harbeson, another senior, added that they would have to depend on watching field commander Brad Hamilton to know where they should be.
Hamilton, a second-year field commander, was making the rounds to the different sections as they loosened up outside the Dome. ‘I want you to have the most awesome show that I cry,’ he told the trumpet section.
A junior, Hamilton said he was ‘pumped and excited’ about the show and was feeling better about directing the Marching Cougars in front of an estimated 30,000 people than he did last year. ‘I’m less nervous; more excited but still nervous,’ he said.
At the last waiting stage outside the Dome, Crisp glanced over at some large props that another band would be using in their show. ‘I’m sure glad we don’t have to mess with those,’ he said.
In past years, North Harrison used massive props, including a large volcano in 1998, the year they finished just tenths of a point behind state champion Angola. In 1999 and 2000, the years the Marching Cougars won first, their shows ‘Tribal Ritual’ and ‘Join Together’ included numerous props.
At their first trip to state, in 1992, the Marching Cougars finished eighth. In their other appearances, they finished sixth in 1997, 2001 and 2002, fourth in 2003 and 2004, and seventh in 2005.
Assistants this year for NHHS were Jordan Black, Jackie Beam, Elyce Foley, Christopher Morris and Darrel Williamson.
As he prepared to board the bus back to the Ramsey campus, Crisp said he was going home to relax. He said it was ‘rewarding’ to be able to compete at state and he was looking forward to next season.
According to ISSMA statistics, 175 bands, involving more than 15,000 students, competed at district on Sept. 30 or festival sites on Oct. 7; the number was reduced to 114 bands and 12,000-plus students at regional on Oct. 14. Forty bands, with 5,143 students, were in Indianapolis on Saturday at state in four classes, based on school size, with Class A being the largest.
Here is the complete list of each class:
Class A ‘ Avon, first; Lawrence Central, second; Fort Wayne Homestead, third; Center Grove, fourth; Penn, fifth; Ben Davis, sixth; Castle, seventh; Lake Central, eighth; Fort Wayne Snider, ninth; Carroll, 10th;
Class B ‘ Greenwood, first; Northview and Decatur Central, tie for second; Concord, fourth; New Castle and Bloomington North, tie for fifth; Fort Wayne North Side, seventh; Plainfield, eighth; Jasper, ninth; Northridge, 10th;
Class C ‘ Norwell, first; New Palestine, second; Maconaquah, third; Gibson Southern, fourth; North Harrison, fifth; Scottsburg, sixth; Western, seventh; Heritage, eighth; Vincennes Lincoln, ninth; Mount Vernon, 10th;
Class D ‘ Lewis Cass, first; Forest Park, second; Tri-West, third; Springs Valley, fourth; Fairfield, fifth; John Glenn, sixth; Tell City, seventh; Evansville Mater Dei, eighth; Bluffton, ninth; North Posey, 10th.
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