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ISSMA Competitions Begin!

This week has been another week filled with hard work and long days for the students (and parents!) of the Spirit of Woodlan. Part 3 of the show was finished this week, in time to perform it at this past weekend’s first ISSMA competition at the Homestead Invitational. New bright-blue 10-ft hoops were added to the show and are featured throughout the performance. Don’t get too comfortable with the bright-blue color though, and be on the lookout for a new update this upcoming weekend! The students became more comfortable marching on the tarps and worked to perfect all the new drill. As the weather settled into cooler temperatures, the students bundled up for their evening practices.

Working with the new hoops during an evening practice


This past Saturday, October 8th, the students gathered at school for another 8am practice. They worked hard at practice until it was time for lunch at noon. They were provided a breakfast lunch that included pancakes (how DID Jeff Walter make them so thick and perfect?), sausage, crispy bacon, fruit salad, yogurt, muffins, an amazing coffee cake (you have skills, Dani Lake!), chocolate milk, and Sunny D. After lunch, the band and guard practiced more until it was time to load the semi and head to Homestead.

Keegan Walton having fun with the flags - the guard members make it look so easy!

This week, the band was again unable to get two buses, so the students had to all share one bus, which they definitely don’t prefer. To complicate matters, our bus was required to park in a different parking lot than our semi and trailer, so it required more walking back and forth for the kids. The boys changed first on the bus, followed by the girls. Next, it was time to get finishing touches on the uniforms and hair tucked under hats. We seem to go through an endless supply of bobby pins getting everyone’s hair into place! It was a chilly day, but the kids did a great job with it and most were comfortable in their uniforms.

Poor Joe! It takes a lot of work (plus two Sarahs and a lot of bobby pins!) to get his hair under his hat.

In Class D competition, the Spirit of Woodlan competed against the Spirit of Triton, Adams Central Squadron of Sound, Whitko Marching Pride, Elwood Community Panther Band, Taylor Marching Titans, and Alexandria-Monroe Marching Tigers. It was another windy day, which made flag tosses more difficult. Right before the show began, a microphone blew over, but stayed up for the rest of the show when it was reset. The tarps stayed in place now that they are weighted down with the heavy chains underneath. The students gave a strong performance and put on a wonderful show. This week, audio titles were added to each part to include, “The Portal of War”, “The Portal of Peace”, and “The Portal of Home”. It was a great performance and one to be proud of!

The show begins as the students enter the portal.

After their performance, the band and guard loaded the semi and changed out of their uniforms. The boys had a short time limit on their use of the bus, as the girls were eagerly waiting to get changed themselves. This week, we had an unusual amount of random uniform pieces missing, including one solitary shoe, a pair of gauntlets, a gauntlet bag, a garment bag, and a hanger. It was definitely chaotic getting all the students changed and all of their required uniform pieces safely put away. As each random item was found, the parents checking uniforms let out a little cheer of relief. This is why we check all the pieces after every performance!


The students gathered in the stands to watch the remaining bands and eat dinner until it was time for awards. This week, the students that brought blankets to the stands with them were glad they did, as it got rather chilly while waiting for awards. At ISSMA events, they no longer give out placement awards during the awards ceremony. Instead, each band is separately given either a Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Participation rating. Instead of caption awards, bands are awarded “With Distinction” for meeting specific criteria in Music, Visual, and Effect. At the awards ceremony, the awards were as follows: Spirit of Triton (Gold), Adams Central Squadron of Sound (Gold), Whitko Marching Pride (Gold with Visual Distinction), Elwood Community Panther Band (Silver), Taylor Marching Titans (Gold with Visual Distinction), Alexandria-Monroe Marching Tigers (Gold with Visual Distinction), and Spirit of Woodlan (Gold). It’s safe to say that it was disappointing to not receive any “With Distinction” awards this week, but it was certainly a relief to receive the Gold rating. The students know that they put on a really great, strong performance, and they will work hard this week at cleaning up trouble areas.

Well, that completes the local part of this marching band season! The band and guard will now prepare for the longer journeys to competitions from this point on. This upcoming week, the Spirit of Woodlan will head to Lafayette Jefferson High School for the ISSMA Regional competition. They will perform at 1:30pm and will compete against Taylor Marching Titans (11:00am), Spirit of Triton (11:15am), Benton Central Marching Bison (11:30am), Adams Central Squadron of Sound (11:45am), Bremen Emerald Alliance (12:00pm), Whitko Marching Pride (12:15pm), Elwood Community Panther Band (12:45pm), LaVille Royal Regiment (1:00pm), Lewis Cass Marching Kings (1:15pm), Alexandria-Monroe Marching Tigers (1:45pm), and the Pride of Tri-County Marching Cavaliers (2:00pm). In Open Class D, the awards will again be given as rankings of either Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Participation and “With Distinction” awards will also be given in Music, Visual, and Effect. The top 10 bands will qualify for the Semi-State event held on October 29, 2022.


ISSMA competitions bring a lot of pressure and stress to the students, who all share the same goal of becoming a State Finalist. Support for these awesome kids is more important than ever! The cheers, hugs, and support of the parents and community mean the world to these hard-working individuals. I encourage you to make the trek to Lafayette, if you can, to cheer on this awesome band! See you there!

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