INDIANAPOLIS – From models and space to glass and the supernatural, hundreds of area students leaped, strode, spun and danced to bring their themes to life for an audience of thousands Saturday.
Six area bands competed in the State Marching Band Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium, with Homestead High School placing highest among the group.
See how your favorite bands did below:
The Homestead Spartan Alliance brought its usual precision marching to the field with “Model” – following up last year's win with a third-place finish.
Band and color guard members moved mannequins' arms and legs into various positions throughout the show directed by Brad Wadkins.
The highlight was a frantic segment full of dramatic marching and an upbeat tempo. The band tucked close together – making the music of its 265 members even louder than expected.
Jennifer Bay, assistant principal at Homestead, attended Saturday's event for the 24th year in a row. She said students who participate in marching band learn time management, love of the arts and a passion for working together.
“If you ask students and parents, they pull the positives away from the participation,” she said. “The placement is the exclamation point, but it's all about the journey.”
This is the 32nd consecutive year Homestead has qualified for state, and in the last 28 years it hasn't ranked below fourth place.
The Carroll Charger Pride brought its show – titled “In the Glass” – alive by using a bevy of large mirrors around the field.
As the members moved around the turf, they were reflected in the mirrors, which lit up later with electric blue rope light.
An interlude of “Hallelujah” began soft and light before building to a crescendo. Ultimately the band took eighth place in Class A.
The show was directed by Doug Hassell, and Carroll has about 195 members.
One of those was senior Eliza Skaggs, who played trumpet. She was all smiles after the show, saying it was great to perform for the crowd.
“I like it when the lights in the mirrors turn on. No one expects it,” Skaggs said.
She will most miss the friendship from the band – “we really bond and become a family.”
The North Side Marching Legends received sixth place for their “Spaced Out” program in Class B. Their props included canvas planets and a mini-spaceship that was operated by remote control and lit up and rotated.
The program included David Bowie's “Space Oddity,” which started slow and built into a crowd-pleaser. The band was led by Edward King.
“These kids work so hard – all they do is eat, sleep and play,” said Patti Norton, band nurse and grandparent to a saxophone player.
She couldn't even estimate the number of hours spent working toward Saturday's performance – “I thought they did fantastic. Good music and good marching. A unified front.”
The Class C championship went to Edgewood High of Ellettsville.
The Norwell Marching Knights, led by director Cory Kelley, brought an other-worldly galaxy theme to its performance in Class C and finished in sixth place. The color guard was clad in colorful blue, purple and pink outfits, and pink planet-like spheres dotted the field.
The routine – “Beyond” – started with an ethereal opening and the marching band rarely stood still, moving fluidly across the turf.
“Hit it!” yelled one parent from the stands before the dramatic closing.
Kelley – while dragging props off the field – called the show great and said the kids gave their best performance of the year.
He said there are many technical aspects of musicality and movement to a show.
“But it's about the emotional connection that captivates the audience,” Kelley said.
“Heavenly Light” was the title of the show by the Concordia Lutheran Marching Cadets, who finished eighth.
The band members wore all black – with no billowy hats or traditional garb – while the guard brought the color to the field, in long flowy gowns of all colors.
Props included church windows and stained glass.
Senior Isabel Heibeck, 17, performed a soprano saxophone solo while tucked into the moving window.
“I feel like this isn't real because it's my last time,” said an emotional Heibeck. “I was extremely happy with our performance.”
Concordia is directed by Adam Friedrich and placed fifth last year, winning it all in 2013.
The Spirit of Woodlan brought “The Witching Hour” to life with the use of clocks around the field and chimes. They tied for eighth place in Class D.
Director Robert Slattery said he was seeking a spooky and creeping feeling as time nears the hour of the supernatural.
“I think it was the best run all year,” he said. “They saved the best for last.”
The small crew of about 60 members brought a big sound to the musical interludes of “The Haunting,” “The Awakening” and “The Vanishing.” The performance ended with the band asleep on the field.
State Finals Results
1st - Carmel High
2nd - Avon High
3rd - Homestead High in Fort Wayne
4th - Fishers High
5th - Castle High in Newburgh
6th - Center Grove High
7th - Plainfield High
8th - Carroll High in Fort Wayne
9th - Concord Community in Elkhart
10th - Penn High in Mishawaka
1st - Greenwood Community
2nd - Greenfield Central
3rd - Northview High in Brazil
4th - Munster High
5th - Jasper High
6th - North Side High in Fort Wayne
7th - Bloomington North High
8th - North High in Evansville
9th - Pendleton Heights High
10th - Northridge High in Middlebury
1st - Edgewood High in Ellettsville
2nd - Western High in Russiaville
3rd - Lewis Cass High in Walton
4th - Lincoln High in Vincennes
5th - NorthWood High in Nappanee
6th - Norwell High in Ossian
7th - Mount Vernon High
8th - Concordia Lutheran in Fort Wayne
9th - Scottsburg High
10th - Owen Valley High in Spencer
1st - Forest Park High in Ferdinand
2nd - Springs Valley High in French Lick
3rd - Paoli High
4th - Fairfield High in Goshen
5th - Mater Dei High in Evansville
6th - Monrovia High
7th - Clay City High
8th (tie) - Woodlan High in Woodburn and South Spencer High in Rockport
10th - Orleans High