Marching Greyhounds are National Champs!

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Writer / Kara Kavensky
Photographers / Sue Eckl

The 2016 Indiana State Marching Band Competition finished in this order:

1. Avon
2. Carmel
3. Homestead – Ft. Wayne
4. Castle – Newburgh
5. Center Grove – Greenwood
6. Fishers
7. Brownsburg
8. Lawrence North – Indpls.
9. Columbus North
10. Carroll – Ft. Wayne

Class A

For all of the bands listed above, it is clear that Indiana is a hotbed of intense competition, with Indianapolis-area schools not needing to travel far for a heated rivalry. Fishers High School, making it to the state finals for the first time in school history, ranked respectfully among its peers. Lawrence North, Center Grove and Brownsburg all had strong finishes.

The headlining story of the season was the battle for Number 1 and Number 2 spots, with the Marching Greyhounds of Carmel High School on the heels of Avon’s Marching Black and Gold leading into Nationals. Nationals, which was held at Lucas Oil Stadium November 10 to 12, showcased the best of the best from across the country. Notice that the top four state finalists from Indiana all finished in the top 11 overall at Nationals.

The Bands of America Nationals wrapped up with these final results:

97.45 – Carmel H.S., Indiana

97.45 – Avon H.S., Indiana

96.55 – William Mason H.S., Ohio

95.70 – Tarpon Springs H.S., Florida

95.30 – Cedar Park H.S., Texas

94.65 – Leander H.S., Texas

91.85 – Ronald Reagan H.S., Texas

91.50 – Wando H.S., South Carolina

91.30 – Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S., Texas

91.05 – Castle H.S., Indiana

91.00 – Homestead H.S., IN

90.05 – Marian Catholic H.S., Illinois

89.45 – Dobyns-Bennett H.S., Tennessee

What appears as a tie for first place, was decided, per regulations of Bands of America, upon the Outstanding General Effect score, which nudged the Carmel High School Marching Greyhounds into first place. This was the first time in Nationals history where two bands tied for first place.

“This was as close as it could get,” explains Carmel High School Band Director Chris Kreke. “Avon won the music caption by .2 of a point and won visual by .1 of a point, and we won the general effect by .3, producing the tie. It’s an awesome rivalry between us and Avon, and it is great to have this level of competition around us, as it pushes us all to be better and this is the by-product of that.”

carmel-marching-band-6Avon Director of Bands Jay Webb adds, “The first time we saw Carmel this season they beat us, and the next three times we beat them. It is a great rivalry and has been that way for over a decade. Lawrence Central, Center Grove and Carmel have represented the benchmarks to reach. The level of competition in our area is one of the strongest in the country.”

Every show is built around a concept. Avon High School structured its concept around a Walt Whitman poem, “O Pioneer.”

Webb explains his vision, “Go Forth! Tells the story of how the youth of America will move our country forward, move our society forward. We used the music of Aaron Copeland and Bon Iver.”

While there is strong competition, the marching band community is one large, supportive family. The audience cheers for every performance, for all know how hard the students works at their craft. When tragedy strikes in one form or another, the word “band” plays a more significant role on a deeply personal level.

Sophie Rinehart, soloist for Castle High School, gave an amazing performance on Saturday evening. Sadly, she would perish in a car accident on her way home that night, along with her father and grandmother. It’s a loss for the entire marching band and arts community. Sophie left us with an indelible performance and one that should have experienced an encore.

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