The Sound of North marching band of Columbus North opens its tournament competition this weekend, snaking its way across the field to catch judges’ attention.

The 161-member band will perform its “Slither” show at 7:14 p.m. Saturday at Center Grove High School, one of four sites in the Indiana State School Music Association Open Regional Marching Band competition.

Heading into their fall break, North students were polishing the drills and music for the production, which involves snake-like movements, said Keith Burton, assistant director of bands.

The beginning of the performance features a Middle Eastern type of sound, while the middle has a “hypnotic, seductive sound to that music,” Burton said.

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Those two ideas are blended for the closing, he said.

Props will illustrate the theme visually through the use of eight large designs that have snake baskets on them, while the front will feature snake prints.

If the marching band advances from this weekend’s ISSMA competition, it will compete the weekend of Oct. 22 during the semistate competition. Sound of North qualified for semistate competition last year after earning fifth in regionals.

The biggest challenge is the physical demands of marching band, Burton said.

“The most important thing is preparing yourself and having the best performance you can possibly have,” Burton said. “The rest of it is kind of out of your hands.”

Between the commitment of practice and working hard, “all we could ever hope for as teachers is to see them grow that way and still enjoy what they’re doing,” he said.

Driven seniors

Kathleen Hiegele, a senior who plays clarinet, said she hopes to make it to the state competition in her final year of high school. If North advances each of the next two weekends, that will occur.The state marching band competition finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is the weekend of Oct. 29.

“It’s not nerve-wracking necessarily,” Hiegele said.

“There’s a lot on the line, so we have to work really hard to make sure we get to state,” she said.

Brittany Davis, another senior who has also been in marching band for four years, is trying to make the most of the upcoming opportunities.

Davis said she hopes to impress spectators and the judges who will be watching.

“We just do the same work every week and just get better,” Davis said.

North finished eighth in the state competition in Class A during the 2012 state finals, which was the ninth time in 18 years the Sound of North advanced to the finals. Its highest finish in state competition has been seventh place, which the North band earned in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009.

Before its 2016 year concludes, Columbus North has also applied to compete in the Music for All’s Bands of America Grand National Championships from Nov. 10 to 12. Nearly 100 bands will compete the first two days with the top 30 advancing to the Saturday semifinals. Out of that competition, the top 12 will advance to Saturday’s finals, Burton said.

Upcoming North competition schedule

What: Indiana State School Music Association Open Regional Marching Band Competition

When: Performing at 7:14 p.m. Saturday

Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood

If North advances, it will go to the semistate competition the weekend of Oct. 22, then to the state marching band competition finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis the weekend of Oct. 29 if it advances from both weekends.

Other competition event

What: Music for All’s Band of America Grand National Championships

When: Nov. 10 to 12

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis