The Sound of North marching band fell two points short of returning to the Indiana State Marching Band Finals for the second straight year.
The 160-member North High School band finished 13th in the Class A Indiana State School Music Association semistate competition Saturday at Ben Davis High School, where bands from the state’s largest high schools participated.
The 10 top-scoring bands in semistate competition advanced to Saturday’s 45th annual Indiana State Marching Band Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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“Everyone’s disappointed (about not advancing), but they weren’t disappointed in how their performance was,” said Keith Burton, Sound of North marching band director.
“There’s not a lot of separation between these groups,” he said, with a potential 100 points awarded for a perfect performance.
Saturday was a long and cold day for Sound of North band members.
It started at 9 a.m. with stretching and warmups, followed by rehearsing the music inside for about an hour, then heading back outdoors for more rehearsing at noon.
After being the second-to-last band to perform at 5:46 p.m., the top bands were announced during the 6:25 p.m. awards ceremony and then it was time to head home. They got back to Columbus about 9 p.m.
Conditions Saturday were the coldest of the year for North band members, with a temperature of 39 degrees as they headed to the stadium.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Burton said. “It was a very cold day. The kids handled it great.”
Every band faced weather-impacted intonation issues, Burton said.
Cold temperature lowers the pitch of the woodwind and brass instruments, and it raises the pitch of the percussionists, he said.
“You just have to fight through it,” Burton said.
Woodwind and brass players wear gloves as part of the uniforms, Burton said, and most of them had hand-warmers inside their gloves.
Percussionists don’t wear gloves while performing, but they also used hand warmers, he said.
Members of the North color guard wore coats and gloves until warmup time.
All 20 Class A bands competing at Ben Davis faced the same conditions.
“It was a tough end result yesterday (Saturday), not where everyone wanted to place. But everyone went about their business and gave their best efforts all day and all season,” Burton said.
The band’s 2017 show, “Within These Walls,” fit perfectly with the Halloween season.
With original pieces from Burton, it also includes a familiar song from the 1979 musical thriller, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The show primarily focuses on fears and facing them.
The Sound of North band finished ninth in the state finals last year after missing the tournament the prior three years.
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 had advanced to the finals. The band’s highest finish in state competition has been seventh place, which it earned in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009.
Columbus North will be among 12 Indiana high school marching bands and 102 across the nation competing in Music for All’s Bands of America Grand National Championships, Nov. 8-11, at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Sound of North’s preliminary performance will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 9. The top 30 scores from two days of preliminaries will advance to the Nov. 10 morning and afternoon semifinals. Bands with the top 12 scores will make the Nov. 11 evening finals.