Hendricks County Flyer
---- — 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.
Just two weeks ago, Avon won the Indiana State School Music Association’s Class A state championship, beating Carmel in that event. Carmel and Avon met multiple times during the competitive marching season with each band taking turns edging each other for top placement. The margin of victory in events was typically a point or less on the 100-point scale.
This back-and-forth between Avon and Carmel created a great deal of excitement for the marching bands and for spectators alike. Debbie Gerboth, a senior at Avon, noted, “Having such an incredible band like Carmel to compete with motivates us to work hard throughout the season.”
Director of Avon Bands Jay Webb added, “The thing about competition is that it creates excellence. It’s not about winning, but teaching [our kids] what it takes to achieve excellence.”
With more than 270 students involved in marching band, it touches almost 10 percent of the school’s student body. Historically, Avon band participants have shown higher than average grades, graduation rates, and plans for college. Music education has been shown to positively impact students from all socio-economic backgrounds.
People who are interested in supporting the program’s winning tradition are invited to join Avon Band Together, a non-profit committee of the Band Boosters. Band Together members believe that the year-around band program promotes dedication, teamwork, music appreciation, physical activity and respectful competition. Membership in Band Together is open to anyone who wants to help current and future Avon High School students excel on the state, regional and national band scene.
For more information on the organization, visit the website at AvonBand.com and click the “Band Together” tab at the top of the page or find the group on Facebook.