ELKHART — Four local marching bands will compete at the ISSMA state competition on Saturday, Nov. 2.
In class C, Fairfield and NorthWood advanced to state after putting in their best performance at the Indiana State School Music Association semi-state contest Saturday, Oct. 26.
“It was a phenomenal run, absolutely phenomenal,” Fairfield band director Andrew Muth said following the performance. “It’s an honor to go to state again this year; this is our fifth consecutive trip to class C state finals. We laid it all on the line today.”
Muth added that the weather was very cold when the band arrived in Indianapolis Saturday morning, but band members “powered through like champions.”
“We are very excited to work hard for another whole week,” Muth said.
NorthWood band director Eric Criss said that NorthWood students were practicing hard the week leading up to the semi-state contest, and the work showed.
“Musically, they played amazingly,” Criss said. “The kids have been on fire all week long preparing for this.”
He added, “(The kids) are ready for (state competition). They are ready to eat it up. I just want to say a big thank you to the awesome band parents. They get food, uniforms ... They are like a racing pit crew. They have been great all year.”
Class B band Concord also won a chance to compete at the state level, while two other local class B bands, Northridge and Elkhart Central, will not go on to state.
“We get to keep working for another week,” Scott Spradling, Concord band director, said on Saturday. “I told (the kids) today, if anyone deserves a good performance today, it’s you, because you did everything you were supposed to do.”
Spradling said that Concord band members practiced through bad weather in Elkhart all week, and they did it without complaining.
“They performed as well as we could have hoped they would perform,” he said. “We were hoping that Northridge and Elkhart Central would make it, and we were disappointed that they didn’t. We were rooting for them the whole day.”
Scott Garner, director for Central, said Saturday that the band did well despite not advancing to state.
“We did not make finals but we had our best run of the year,” he said. “We feel like this year was a big step for us. The kids all felt good coming off the field and I think they can safely say that was their best performance of the year.”
A representative for Northridge was not immediately able to comment on Saturday.
In class A, Goshen qualified for the state contest, while Penn did not.
Tom Cox, director of Goshen’s band, said that his group feels “honored, and lucky.”
“It was a long day,” Cox said on Saturday. “We left Goshen at 5 a.m. because we wanted to practice. If we had practiced in Goshen at 5 a.m., people would have been mad at us.”
He added, “The kids were wonderful. (The judging) was really tense, because they gave the state finalists in the order of performance. We performed 17th out of 20 bands, and you are just kind of checking them off (as the state finalists are announced). There were butterflies.”
Glenn Northern, band director for Penn, said that the band knew the results might be close. They finished in 11th place out of 20 bands. Only the top 10 in each class move to the next level.
“Today’s performance was as strong as we had all season,” Northern said. “Our students knew what was at stake, and they worked hard to give it their best. I think most of them feel that they did that.”
He added, “I’m really proud of our students and how well they’ve worked all year. I’m very proud of the parents who helped us create a show that was fun for our students and hopefully memorable to perform.”
The ISSMA state finals are at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Saturday, Nov. 2.