Arsenal Technical, Emmerich Manual win Bands of America IPS Tournament Titles
by Michael Reed
The 2011 Bands of America Grand National Championships kicked off in style tonight with the Indianapolis Public Schools Marching Band Tournament. The event, which is the only time all year the IPS bands compete with each other, has become a much-anticipated annual tradition of rousing music, community support, and enthusiastic school spirit.
This year’s event featured the largest field of bands in the tournament’s fifteen year history, with nine units participating. One unique aspect of this competition is the role that audience participation plays in deciding the Spirit Award. The fans from each school sit together, with a panel of local celebrities judging the schools on the amount of enthusiasm displayed.
Arsenal Technical captured the Class A title (Large bands) with selections from the smash musical Lion King with “Circle of Life.” The tender playing in “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” was one of the most beautiful moments of the night. Shortridge Magnet looked stunning in their new uniforms. The band was the most “corps-style” of the groups this evening, featuring a big brassy sound to earn the runner-up spot with “Earthdance.”
Earning $1,000 for their band by winning the Spirit Award, Broad Ripple Magnet presented “Obstacles,” an optimistic program about enduring through hardship which showcased the talents of an outstanding saxophone soloist. High stepping Arlington Community presented a traditional Southern college-style program of dynamic drumming and crowd-pleasing moves from their fantastic dance line.
In Class B (Small bands), Emmerich Manual took their first IPS Championship performing music of rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, as they had a blast performing his iconic hit “Crazy Train.” Second place Thomas Carr Howe Community took us to the over the rainbow to the Emerald City with “The Wizard of Oz Meets the Wiz.” The show combined famous songs from the two musicals into a delightfully entertaining package.
Northwest performed a program of catchy rhythm and blues tunes, highlighted by a bevy of beauties who got the crowd energized with a dance number that included a Rockettes-style kick line. George Washington Community celebrated the thrills available of the big city. Members wrote chalk graffiti on black backdrops while others played a rhythmic feature on steel trash cans.
The evening opened and closed with two very special exhibition performances. Crispus Attucks, in their very first year, began the festivities with a show of music by Latin-jazz artist Tito Puente. Special guests Marian University thrilled the crowd and filled the stadium with sounds of the British rock band Muse.
The first of two days of action-packed preliminary performances by over ninety of the finest bands in the country get under way Thursday morning. Competition continues Saturday morning with the Semi Finals contest, culminating in Saturday Night’s always-spectacular Grand National Finals. Tickets are still available for all performances. We hope you will join us this weekend either in person or via the live webcast as we unite to celebrate the best qualities that make us all Winners in Life.