The flags. The colors. The drums. The horns. The pageantry. The atmosphere.
There’s nothing quite like the annual State Fair Band Day high school marching band competition. You can be a part of it Friday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Several local bands will be there, including Anderson, Elwood, Frankton and Lapel. Yorktown, Muncie South and Winchester will also be represented. Winchester, the two-time defending Band Day champion, is directed by Doug Fletcher, who won state titles previously at Anderson and Highland high schools.
Winning the competition, of course, is the ultimate goal. But turning in their peak performance of the year is the focus of most of the bands. Experienced marching band competition spectators will tell you that the improvement from the beginning of the season to the end is truly extraordinary for many bands.
Hours and hours and weeks and weeks of hard work go into forming and honing a top-notch marching band. The sacrifices of time — and sweat — put in by the students, parents, band directors and support personnel signify a true love for a unique performance art.
Preliminary-round performances begin at 9 a.m. and end about 5 p.m. Friday. The top bands will then move on to the final round Friday evening.
Some will be disappointed; some will be elated. In the end, there will be only one overall championship band selected. But the life lessons about hard work and teamwork, and friendships formed in the process, will endure.
For a true slice of Hoosier culture, head for the State Fairgrounds on Friday. Admission to the band competition is free with admission to the fair. Enjoy the performances, and applaud some of Madison County’s finest student-performers.
Rich tradition High school marching bands from the Madison County area have a rich tradition at State Fair Band Day, having won the overall championship a combined 16 times since the first competition in 1947. Here are state title years for the local bands: Anderson (6): 2010, 1986, 1985, 1959, 1958, 1957 Highland (6): 2009, 2007, 2005, 1971, 1970, 1968 Madison Heights (2): 1980, 1963 Shenandoah (1): 1972 Alexandria (1): 1950 Source: indianatrackmarchingbands.com