IN case anyone hasn’t noticed, high school band no longer is regarded as a “minor” activity.
That stereotype vanished years ago, thanks to a combination of factors, some of which were witnessed locally.
The change was underlined on a single day by the performances of Columbus’ two high school bands — Columbus North’s Sound of North, and Columbus East’s Olympian Spirit.
The Sound of North posted an eighth-place finish Nov. 3 in the Class A competition of the Indiana State School Music Association’s 40th annual championship.
The local band’s appearance in the state finals marks the ninth time in the past 18 years that the school has reached that level of competition.
Taking into account that North’s enrollment was dwarfed by most of the other schools in the competition, the band’s showing in the finals is quite an accomplishment. It also maintains a tradition that previous North bands have established and built upon. Only the bands of 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009 — which all received seventh place — finished higher.
The Columbus East band had similar successes.
Also on Nov. 3, the Olympian Spirit placed fourth in a multi-state competition in Mason, Ohio, topping nine other competitors in the Class AAA division. That showing mirrored even better finishes in a number of Indiana State School Music Association competitions so far this year.
Far from being a minor extracurricular activity, band in local schools has come to be a major undertaking that literally involves hundreds of students.
Far from participating in simply something they like to do, band members have become just as competitive as their counterparts on the playing fields and gymnasiums. Certainly the practice schedules and physical demands are just as rigorous.
Support for their endeavors certainly has been forthcoming. The booster clubs for both school bands have achieved goals once thought unimaginable. The boosters not only support the performers by attendance at their events but have been able to purchase expensive equipment and arrange for long-distance travel to major events around the country.
That’s not “minor” by any stretch of the imagination.