INDIANAPOLIS — The Frankton Marching Eagles placed 19th overall and third in the Class A rankings at the Indiana State Fair Band Day competition Saturday.

The Marching Highlanders from Anderson High School, meanwhile, went on to the finals.

The directors of both bands, James Handshoe of Frankton Jr./Sr. High School, and Richard Geisler of Anderson, said their kids had reason to be proud following Saturday morning's preliminary competition.

"I thought the kids did a really nice job," said Frankton's Handshoe. "It was just like any other performance — some things went better than normal, some things were normal, and some things could have been better."

Handshoe tells his students that 90 percent of a good outing depends on how well band members have prepared for their six-minute performance.

"When you come to these performances, nothing magical is going to happen," Handshoe said.

With just 32 members, Frankton was one of the smallest of the 41 high school marching bands from across Indiana participating in the annual competition.

The program selected by Handshoe this year was challenging. It’s called “Obsession,” and is based on the 2005 movie thriller “V for Vendetta.” Set in the future, Britain has become a fascist state. An underground freedom fighter, known only by the alias of “V,” plots an overthrow of the corrupt government with help from a young woman.

The music and drill for the show reflected control, tension, and ultimately a breakaway, according to Handshoe.

The Marching Highlanders, at 105 members, were one of the largest marching bands to compete this year, and they remain distinctive because they’re the only Indiana high school band that features bagpipes.

The Highlanders' theme this year, "Arthur the Valiant King," featured a sword fight, and a color guard twice the size of the one from 2014 acted out the musical themes.

Anderson's large size filled the bandstand with a big sound, which energized the audience, especially the sizable contingent from Anderson.

Senior Danielle Kelly, a member of the color guard, felt good about the morning performance.

"I feel we put our best out there and all our preparation for this day has paid off," she said.

Geisler agreed with Danielle's assessment.

"I feel terrific. It was our strongest run of the season," he said. "The kids worked hard, they did everything we asked, and I think they have a lot to feel proud about that run this morning."

​Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

Native of Maryland who moved to Indiana 20 years ago. I've covered every news beat imaginable over a long career as an editor and reporter. I am currently the courts reporter for The Herald Bulletin.

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