INDIANAPOLIS — The Avon Marching Black & Gold has again garnered national recognition for its performance in the Bands of America Grand National Championships this past weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ninety bands from 21 states gathered in Indianapolis for three rounds of competition. The finals Saturday night featured the 12 highest scoring bands.
While four of the final bands hailed from central Indiana, the other bands represented seven states including Florida and Texas. This year, Avon finished third overall behind Carmel and Broken Arrow, Okla. Carmel won the championship this year for the first time since 2006.
The Avon Marching Black & Gold performed its show entitled "Feast or Famine." The show features musical selections that are boisterous and loud to represent a musical feast and selections that are softer and slower in nature to suggest famine.
"The quality of the bands competing in the Grand Nationals continues to reach new heights," Band Director Jay Webb said. "I'm so proud of the 300 kids from Avon who have practiced hundreds and hundreds of hours over the last six months. They really gave it their all during the Bands of America competition.
"This year was also special because Avon shared the Espirit de Corps Award. The Al Castronova Espirit de Corps Award is given annually by the Bands of America staff to recognize the band that best exemplifies the important intangibles that underlie successful band programs: camaraderie, integrity, teamwork, and spirit. This year, Avon was a co-awardee, along with Bridgewater-Raritan High School from Bridgewater, N.J., a community heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy."
Despite reeling from the aftereffects of the hurricane, the Bridgewater-Raritan Band kept its commitment to perform in Lucas Oil Stadium. Many of the students had been without electricity, heat, or water in their homes for more than a week, and the band had been unable to practice. After a 12-hour bus ride, the band arrived at Avon High School to cheers from students and parents. They enjoyed a hot meal provided by the band boosters and used the facilities at the high school to prepare for their performance.
Bridgewater-Raritan's director, Larry Markiewicz, reflected on his experience in the following e-mail sent to band staff:
"The Avon High School music program is the most amazing class act I have ever seen in my career of doing this wonderful activity. The sheer emotion of their heartfelt greeting and fantastic homemade meal moved many of us (myself included) to tears. The kids will never forget this and no matter what happens this week, that (reception) made this trip worth it."
The Avon Marching Black & Gold have won the Grand National Championships three times - in 2008, '09, and '10. In 2011, the band came in second. This is the second time the band has been honored with the Espirit de Corps recognition, the only band to have been honored twice.
Recently a group of parents and alumni formed a group, Avon Band Together, to help support the program's winning tradition and the important lessons that the band program promotes in Avon's youth: dedication, teamwork, music appreciation, time management, and others. 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.
Avon Band Together is soliciting new members to help reach its goal of a $5,000 donation to the band on Nov. 20. For more information, visit the website AvonBand.com and click the "Band Together" tab at the top of the page or find the group on Facebook.