The Avon Marching Black & Gold has again garnered national recognition for its performance in the Bands of America Grand National Championships held Nov. 13-16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
For this, the 38th championship season, more than 90 bands from 18 states gathered in Indianapolis for three rounds of competition culminating in the finals Saturday night that featured the 12 highest scoring bands. While three of the final bands hailed from central Indiana, Texas was the state with the most bands to reach the finals, fielding five.
Bands are judged on a 100-point scale that takes into account musical and visual performance as well as the general effect (overall impact) of the show. This year’s champion, the Woodlands High School marching band from Woodlands, Texas, scored 96.8, followed by Carmel with 95.45 and Avon with 94.85. The other Indiana band, Lawrence Central, placed eighth. This was Woodlands’ first championship.
The Avon Marching Black & Gold has been a perennial powerhouse at the Bands of America competition, finishing in the top three each year since 2007, and receiving top honors in 2008, ‘09 and ‘10.
This year’s show, entitled ‘Statuesque,’ depicted a garden and its statues coming to life and then returning to their prior state. Widely hailed as a beautiful and moving performance, it featured a vocal soloist in two key portions of the show as well as Avon’s signature move: the ‘death spiral.’ In the so-called death spiral, the entire horn line of more than 150 members march at high speed into a rapidly collapsing circle at mid-field, playing music throughout. This move is risky because the musicians cannot turn their heads to look where they are marching. Instead, they must trust that everyone else in all directions is moving exactly according to plan. If only a little out of step or off course, a domino effect of falling band members could occur, disrupting the rest of the program.