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 Post subject: Review: BOA Indianapolis (Finals) - Part 2 of 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:40 pm 
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***Part 2 of 2***

Part 2 of the Indy State Finals for Class A (with out-of-state bands in the mix)? Say it ain't so!


Bands of America Regional Championships
RCA Dome
Indianapolis, IN
November 8, 2003

FINALS PERFORMANCES

EXHIBITION - Butler University
Indianapolis, IN
Repertoire: (Not Listed)
Comments: This was the host band. The mellophones bounce off their notes with no problem. Excellent line rotations that clicked as straight lines before continuing to rotate. The low brass triangle between the side B 40 and 30 yard lines was strong, with a hearty booming sound. For their next tune, after the seniors of the band were recognized, the wind plaers start in two horizontal lines. Later on, there is that low brass sound again that really makes this band shine. So far, so good. This band sounds and looks great. Butler University then does their "war song," which gets many in the stands to clap along. They end it all with the National Anthem, played with gusto. This band left the field displaying super marching technique, except for the trombones who do high kicks into the air and pump their arms.

EXHIBITION - Norwell High School (Class A Champions)
Ossian, IN
Repertoire: "Musings of a Minimalist: The Music of Michael Torke" including "Green," "The Way of an Eagle," and "Javelin"
Comments: Backdrops of detached squares, with shades of yellow varying from square to square, were scattered about the backfield area, The musicians wore almost all white, with a hint of purple and yellow. The auxiliary, in canary yellow, do the running man move in place, as does a saxophone in front of a triangular formation that switches positions within. I love the synthesizer's electronic sound that has made minimalism famous since the late 1960s/early 1970s. The second movement starts with the wind players lunging in opposite directions. Banners, purple on one side and gold on the other, are twisted from opposite ends to create an interesting color effect. The synthesized voice following the band around the ballad is uplifting. What a magical moment when the band makes its way to the right corner of the field as if to fly. The singing voice concludes, and ending the movement is the winds with a nice warm sound, in perfect form. A strong synthesized organ sound adds to the third movement that has the band members eventually forming a perfect circle. Soon, a short "jam session" occurs, with the members dancing and kicking their feet out. The circle transforms into a spiral that has an auxiliary member in the center of it, racing her way around the spiral form until she "gets out." The escape from the spiral is perhaps the strongest moment of the show. The rest is history, as the band succeeds in showing us why they were the Class A Champions.

Northmont High School
Clayton, OH
Repertoire: "Lyrics of the Sea" featuring the music from "Of Sailors and Whales" and "The Sea Traders" by Francis McBeth including "Songs of the Sea," "Tranquil Sea" and "Storms of the Sea"
Comments: What appears to be a near life-size model of a shipwrecked ship against a group of rocks is placed in the backfield on the 50 yard line. On and around these rocks are the auxiliary with white tops and light blue pants. The marching members, in vertical lines every five yards, are in white and black with a touch of silver. Part of the field kneels and faces the side B inzone, while others form arcs with a sound that gets bigger and bigger and... The band now plays with a gentle sound that bounces gently off the backfield walls. Oh yeah! Perfect rifle catch! Trumpets, you guys sound glorious with that main melody. The block in the middle of the spiral that wraps its lines around it to form a larger block looks splendid. Excellent clip of the notes at the end of that movement, and did not waste any time getting into the next one. I quickly glanced around the forms and saw that a saxophone needed to get a little closer to a baritone. Yes flutes, that sideways mesh pass-through was wonderful and dangerous at the same time, and impressed me greatly. Low brass, those attacks are strong in the next movement, but perhaps too strong? No laser tones, okay? Alright! Getting into that rhombus, turning around, and eventually getting themselves into another rhombus was killer! The final form of the show looks great except for the...no, we will not talk about the side B portion of the field. This was a red hot show.
My Score: 85.60 (6th)
Actual Score: 82.80 (9th)

Bellbrook High School
Bellbrook, OH
Repertoire: "ECHOES of Humanity" - an original composition by Michael Siler including "Echoes From Our Most Distant Object," "Aquisition of Technology," "Horizons" and "The Pale Blue Dot"
Comments: Two-story (or maybe three-story) walls of black blocked off nearly half of the backfield. A tarp in the shape of a whirlpool started in the middle of the field and extended itself from top to bottom. Narrator (male): "The earth is a very small stage..." Alright horns on the 50 look slightly crooked, with the center section jutting out a bit. Clanging bells at a high tempo gets this group on the move at a high tempo. Every rifle toss in chain reaction style is caught! That was breathtaking. Keep it up! The percussion feature had the snares and tenors lunging. Soon afterwards the band goes out of control on the swirl tarp. One saxophonist falls, but gets up promptly and gets going again. The second movement displays the talent of the reed folks, who perform with suave style in pod-like forms. I am digging the percussion groove with a peppy flute solo. The final movement goes into a short percussion break to start things off as the rest of the marchers head backfield. Oh yes! Rifles caught in perfect time, becoming music in itself with the clicking. I like how near the end the majority of the band takes to the whirlpool tarp and then move in a whirlpool motion within the tarp. One of the best parts of this original show was the end, which was short and sweet and...that is that!
My Score: 83.90 (8th)
Actual Score: 82.05 (10th)

Ben Davis High School
Indianapolis, IN
Repertoire: "...Of Power and Grace" featuring the music of Miklos Rozsa and Mark Higginbotham
Comments: A tarp that almost matches the field exactly were it not for the lighter shade of green is placed in the center of the field. The musicians, in purple and black, have an auxiliary wearing earth-toned colors. The wind players are five yards apart from each other in vertical lines near the backfield. The band then makes its way to the front in a split zig-zag manner. The snare drummers are showcased nicely up front. Get those poles matched perfectly, auxiliary. The trumpets play an incredibly difficult passage with one hand, and use their other hand to lean on their trumpet neighbor. Ooh! Low brass, that blat was big time at the end of the first movement. Be last, but do not be noticeably last. The swelling of sound in the ballad is pretty, with the marching members on the field mostly paired up. Nice stop to movement wind players. Now do not lean into the stepoff. The gallant "Ben-Hur" sound coming from brass line is strong, strong, strong! Great tondue stutter-step maneuver before going to the ending of the show. Tubas, get those toes up. (I know you are struggling out there.) The tubas do a cool little dance, though, as the mass "X" form goes through each other to finally reach a diamond-like form. The show ends with the members lunging straight at us, as if to say, "We are coming right at you, and you cannot stop us."
My Score: 83.30 (9th)
Actual Score: 83.00 (8th)

Lafayette High School
Lexington, KY
Repertoire: "Rejuvenation"
Comments: Five enormous vertical lines and one short vertical line took the field. These lines were made by the powerhouse band from the great state of Kentucky, the Lafayette High School Marching Band. A quick set of notes on the mallet board starts motion. What an intense startup! The lines that rotated were perfection. The pipe thumpers in the pit made what seemed like a synthesized sound, except no synthesizer was needed. (It was all natural.) Thus far I am seeing some awesome moves. The auxiliary manipulated their shiney looking spheres with grace. Half of the band becomes hidden from view behind black backdrops, as a ballad of beauty is done. The wind chimes used by some of the hidden wind players was a nice touch. You could hear a menacing chain dropping in the pit. The crouch move, and then onwards, is quite superb. Now those notes floating upwards need a little smoothing out, but that is nothing this band cannot handle. The band forms it's name, "Lafayette," on the field as it always does to let the audience know who they are and how to remember them...as a great band. Many forms they executed did not enormous demand. I thought they were pretty clean-cut. Lots of curves, and follow-the-leaders, and long lines and such. They were a sweeping force, but how strong were they? That remains to be seen.
My Score: 82.00 (10th)
Actual Score: 85.05 (7th)

Lake Park High School
Roselle, IL
Repertoire: "Through the Eye of the Artist"
Comments: The members of the field were scattered about. In front was a painter's palette, and in the right portion of the field was a blank tarp. An easel without a painting remained. The charming music of this band took place as an echo off the walls of the backfield. Okay, I can see spacing is mostly great, but in some spots not-so-great. Was it so noticeable that it deserves attention, though? Probably not. Portions of the blank tarp are peeled away to give it color. Alright, the decrescendo of sound was effective, especially when the horn angles reflected this. The complex body movement was delicately carried out, but some of it looked rough. The saxophonist who hypnotizes with his sound near the progressively colorful tarp has a super sense of style. In fact, I have his solo stuck in my head. How could you not love that dark Lake Park sound, as the wind player turn backwards? I thought the percussion show before the final movement was not as effective as it could have been. Perhaps it was because I wanted a full blown percussion show. The company front was fine besides the minor spacing issues. The wind players situate themselves on the painter's palette to carry out their final chords, which rang well at the cut off. This was a splendid show that was "music to my ears." Visually, they were not as impressive. Nevertheless, many sections of this show had some super stuff going on, like model marching technique and auxiliary finesse, which pretty much scraped the mud off of this gem.
My Score: 84.00 (7th)
Actual Score: 86.20 (6th)

Lawrence Central High School
Indianapolis, IN
Repertoire: "Breakthrough featuring the music of Michael Schelle, including "I. Confinement," "II. Escape" and "III. The Other Side"
Comments: On a yellow and black tarp trail, the marching members assumed different poses. Narrator (female): "Boundaries...real, or imagined?" The wind players look as if they are trapped. The crouch and the side to side tilt of the shakos looked stellar. Give it up for the brass for not overextending the sound. I love how the trombones, who do a sideways pass-through through each other in direction of motion, snap the horn frontwards right when they exit, and come in on target with the music. The synth sound is new age in style. Multicolored poles are put in motion by the trumpets near the pit on the field. Trumpets on side A, watch that space. What an engulfing sound this group has. When the narrator again speaks there are some feedback problems with the speaker, but not too bad. The color-changing plume trick occurs without problems, but the narrator's voice is distorted. Not good, not good. the ballet movement of the wind players while they play is stunning. It was if I were watching a theatrical piece, except the musicians of the theatrical piece were the theatrical piece. This band executed with flair. Every note and every move locked. I think the black plumes that were accidentally dropped on the field were a distraction, but it did not detract from the main frame, which was built to last.
My Score: 88.90 (3rd)
Actual Score: 89.60 (3rd)

Marian Catholic High School
Chicago Heights, IL
Repertoire: "Facets" including "Facades" by Philip Glass, "Metropolis" by Adam Gorb and "Symphony No. 2" and "Iscariot" by Christopher Rouse
Comments: Multiple wedge shapes were placed near each other on the 50 yard line. These shapes were made of marching members, still as one could be. The auxiliary filled in the cavities of the wedges. Each section in the wedges lets out vocal sound. The mysterious pit sound is followed by difficult musical phrases by the clarinets. A set point squad leader near the 50 yard line looks slightly out of place. The onslaught of sound grips you and does not let go. Some of those line rotations were curved, and whether or not that was intentional I do not know, but other line rotations in regards to straightness, were on target. Flute spacing, is that a hole or a spacing problem? It is right in my face, so you may want to heed this. It occurs to me this band is playing and marching a concept that other bands would never dream of doing. The triangle of wind players mid-field "attached" to each other is neat coming in and coming out. The disarray of notes creates uneasiness, but is cured by a tremendous sound that fills the dome with ease. Only the issue of glaring trumpet notes stuck out, I think, unnecessarily. Oh! Watch that direction change. It did not catch you off guard, did it? The trumpets place the mutes in their horn inconspicuously, and have an interesting sound as they drift off to the side of the field. The band then becomes split in half, with one set of winds in one inzone, and another set of winds in the other inzone. The color guard, in the center of the field, have their moment in the spotlight, before the marchers rush wedges in on them, with small but loud drums. The echo of the final set of drum sounds is immense. This band lives up to the hype it gets year after year.
My Score: 87.00 (4th)
Actual Score: 89.00 (5th)

Carmel High School
Carmel, IN
Repertoire: "Dome of the Heavens" including "Mvt I Andromeda," "Mvt II/III Gemini/Lyra" and "Mvt IV Orion"
Comments: A brief solo is backed up by a solemn synth sound. The members, in unique stance, are scattered all across the field. A brief "Star Trek" sound seems to propel this group into the future. I love the child's voice reciting "Star Light, Star Bright," and the flashes of light qued at certain times by the wind players. One trombonist has difficulty getting in synch. Adherance to form is there. This is a band that makes your jaw drop because they are so good. The "Jetsons." Ha ha! I noticed some late body movement by some of the members pointing the foot. I enjoyed the side stepping block as a string of wind players march basic on the ends. The vocal melody that sings along with the band is entrancing. There is that uplifting flute solo, and another as the auxiliary work the jumprope-like cables. A tuba toots the "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" melody through his horn, before the rest of the band crouches and sounds off with a monstrous touch of their own, as if they were saying, "Twinke, twinkle *this*!" I like the everlasting "two-man" pinwheels, and the flash of the band in the star form is magic...pure magic. The "George Jetson Space Pod" sound effect generated by the synthesizer puts a cute twist on this child-like show that is far from child's play. These kids are exposed to the max, with person-to-person demand in music and having those white pants to show us that they do march, and march very well. This was a slick show that is legit. They are for real this year so...watch out.
My Score: 89.50 (1st)
Actual Score: 91.30 (1st)

Avon High School
Avon, IN
Repertoire: "Equinox" including "Olympia Festival Overture," "October" and "Kokopelli"
Comments: This band had a circular tarp in the middle of the field, with a yin and yang type of design in the center of it, and star rays around it. The oboe solo was carried out with ease and, then the band comes in. The music is unbelievable. Wow! I like how the smaller block pulls in the other lines to form a larger block. The band splits up into vertical lines and when some lines intersect a kick in the air is done. I was waiting for some type of stunning moment in the ballad besides the sound, but it did not seem to occur. The breathing, and movement done with the breathing, was pretty exact. They were matching, yes! The intersecting vertical lines that rotate at the very end are clever. The diamond form that splinters off into four pieces is effective. This group was moving like clockwork, nailing every note and every form. Were they finished? Or do they have more tricks in their bag? What I mean by this is that they seem to have reached their peak, while other bands are cleaning up their incredibly, incredibly difficult shows. The mirroring rhombuses with the arms of the members stretched to the 50 yard line was perfect. This was a clean cut show, but perhaps it was too clean cut. Where was the edge? The mood this band projected in music was excellent, for sure, but where is the edge?
My Score: 86.90 (5th)
Actual Score: 89.05 (4th)

Center Grove High School
Greenwood, IN
Repertoire: "Capture the Flag" with excerpts of "Concerto for Orchestra" by Richard Danielpour and "Lollapalooza" by John Adams
Comments: Red, purple, and blue tarps overwhelm the performance area. The wind players seem to jump out of nowhere, aggressively placing themselves in the spotlight. This inventive show had the auxiliary on two "sides"...one red, and one blue...facing off. At one point, the blue side intercepts the red side and becomes integrated with the flag work. The ripple move and sound wave effect towards the percussion on the blue tarp was intense. The percussion flicks their drums like gods. A group of mellophone players seem to taunt the red and blue pair of auxiliary gals, who catch their rifles with no problem at all. The rifle toss within the massive blob of wind players is both frightening and exciting at the same time. The low brass kick off the "Lollapalooza" music with fun intact. The finale of this show had the wind players going nuts, rushing the center tarp and then falling down, as streams of blue eject from the "CtF" tower above them. This show has so much going on in it that it would take pages and pages of notes to cover it all. Some other notes: It appears the center tarp is purple, and therefore a combination of red and blue representing neutral territory. And I think there were red streamers at the end of the show in prelims as opposed to blue streamers at the end of the show in finals.
My Score: 89.20 (2nd)
Actual Score: 90.60 (2nd)

EXHIBITION - Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
Repertoire: (Not Listed)
Comments: A giant drum on the backfield sideline had the name of the school on it. The drum is spun around as the band makes its move. The drum reads, "World's largest drum," and it is amusing to see the members around the drum lifted in the air by its weight (and the help of other members, of course). The percussion section is amazing, with cymbal players knocking the cymbals of other cymbals players on the ground. Great flanks by the wind players. This was show "bandom" at its best, with horns flipping around and marchers prancing around, and real non-stop fun. Yes, the drill was simplistic, but it was supposed to be simplistic. The history behind this band is wonderful. (In the Bands of America program book it is noted that this was the first band to break ranks and form a letter on the football field (the Block "P" in 1907). This band seemed all about entertaining football fans and marching band fans alike. The cheer leaders up front with the pom poms were quite mesmerizing to start, uh, look at. But of course the cheerleaders were staged in the front and center part of the field, so how could you not look at them? They performed quite well, I must add, as did the flags who made a passageway to the drums and for those who need to be "shown." The rousing music and showmanship from the majorettes was a great way to put the finishing touches on their exhibition. Since Purdue won its football game today, the band flipped their hats around and plays the school fight song.

END OF FINALS PERFORMANCES


Post-Show Thoughts: After the finals bands were announced, I did not want to leave the dome. (It was cold out there!) But I braved the chills, and got a decent spot in line. Ahead of me were a few guys from Avon who were somewhat perplexed that Avon did not make top three in Class AAA. (But they were great sports.) They told the couple ahead of them, who were with Lafayette, how much they liked their band's show. It seems to me that Indiana marching bands work really, really hard at what they do, and have great respect for their rivals. The lady who was with Lafayette mentioned that it was the first time in 13 years that their band lost to another band at the state championships. It was both interesting and spectacular to me to see bands face off with each other that rarely do face off with each other. These people in line brought their bands together, but it was also Bands of America that made this happen.

My Scores:

10. 82.00 Lafayette H.S., KY
9. 83.30 Ben Davis H.S., IN
8. 83.90 Bellbrook H.S., OH
7. 84.00 Lake Park H.S., IL
6. 85.60 Northmont H.S., OH
5. 86.90 Avon H.S., IN
4. 87.00 Marian Catholic H.S., IL
3. 88.90 Lawrence Central H.S., IN
2. 89.20 Center Grove H.S., IN
1. 89.50 Carmel H.S., IN

Actual Scores:

10. 82.05 Bellbrook H.S., OH
9. 82.80 Northmont H.S., OH
8. 83.00 Ben Davis H.S., IN
7. 85.05 Lafayette H.S., KY
6. 86.20 Lake Park H.S., IL
5. 89.00 Marian Catholic H.S., IL
4. 89.05 Avon H.S., IN
3. 89.60 Lawrence Central H.S., IN
2. 90.60 Center Grove H.S., IN
1. 91.30 Carmel H.S., IN

Outstanding Music Performance - Carmel H.S., IN
Outstanding Visual Performance - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
Outstanding General Effect - Carmel H.S., IN

Post-Show Thoughts: Carmel seemed to win this show outright. But Center Grove, Lawrence Central, Avon, and Marian Catholic...they were close. There were some disgruntled sounds near me after Marian Catholic won the award for Outstanding Visual Performance. I, too, wondered why this happened. Marian Catholic had some demanding visuals. However, excellence should not be entirely rewarded on what is "difficult." Marian Catholic did a lot of nice things on that field, but they still have lots of work to do. It is my guess that Marian Catholic's Visual Performance Individual score was much higher than their Visual Performance Ensemble score. After the awards were announced, Chuck Henson told the bands to "break ranks." All across the field the retreat blocks broke apart. Though there were different uniforms on that field, they somehow blended well as similar ideals would. I laughed when I saw a circle of tuba players from different bands get together to try to blast a hole in the roof with their sound. When the Carmel did an encore, I was impressed by how much respect they were given. All of the bands sat in front of them to hear what they had to play. And this was Bands of America at its best.

***END***

Alan Irons
Fountain Valley High School Marching Band 1993-1996
Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar 1997
Nashua Spartans 1998-1999
UCSB Class of 2002


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