Panthers march through grief in Band Day performance

Elwood performs their show "Fire and Ice" at State Fair Band Day on Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS — Five Madison County High School bands are waiting anxiously to hear whether they will be participating in this evening’s finals at the 73rd annual Band Day competition on Opening Day at the Indiana State Fair.

Anderson High School, a favorite to win following a successful summer band season, hopes to best its second-place showing in 2018.

Sporting Elton John-style glasses in the spirit of his band’s performance theme, director Richard Geisler said he’d had a really great warm-up with the band and expected a strong showing on the track.

“The kids are prepared to have a really good run,” he said.

Frankton Jr.-Sr. High School’s Band Director Eric Bailey said the Marching Eagles, who performed second at the competition, said he saw steady improvement in their performance of “A Million Dreams.”

“We had an excellent week,” he said. “They really dug in and found a deeper level of focus in rehearsal.”

Elwood Jr.-Sr. High School Band Director Paula Simmons said she could see an increased level of confidence among her young musicians.

“The kids worked hard this week,” she said. “They had a good warm-up and were ready to go.”

Alexandria Jr.- Sr. High School, which at one time had a consistent and strong Band Day presence, participated for the first time in 22 years.

“It’s a little hot, but we have had hot days already this summer, so my kids are ready for that,” said Alexandria band director Gary Wallyn.

Lapel Jr. Sr. High School’s Marching Bulldogs were the last Madison County band to perform.

“We’re fired up. We’re excited and hoping for our best one this summer,” said Lapel band director Chris Glover.