Saturday morning, November 6th, the band and guard met for breakfast in the hotel lobby at 6:30am. They loaded the buses and made their way to Lucas Oil Stadium, ready and prepared for their big performance ahead. It was a chilly morning, but a sunny, beautiful day. Excitement was in the air as the Spirit of Woodlan prepared to compete at the Indiana State School Music Association’s State Marching Band Finals.
The students were excited to perform at such a huge arena, and they posed for uncountable photos in front of the stadium together. There was some heaviness mixed in, as the seniors were all very aware that this would be their last marching band performance. Into the belly of the stadium they went to warm up for their show. As a member of the Pit Crew, I was excited to hear them warming up down the hallway from where we were stationed. It was a fun moment when several of us parents looked up and said “Wow, those are our kids that sound so good!”
Our talented staff! Derick Herschberger (Percussion Tech), Bob Slattery (Band Director and Fearless Leader), Cody Groves (Percussion Instructor & Technology Captain), Roy Castillo (Color Guard Director), and Nicole Osborn (Color Guard Tech).
Here we go! Heading into Lucas Oil Stadium
Pit Crew Column Moms having a little fun!
Pit Crew Dads!
During Warm Ups
Soon, it was time to take the field. The Spirit of Woodlan performed 5th in their class of 10 bands in competition. Their show, Cleopatra, consisted of the songs, "Empire on the Nile", "Antony and Cleopatra", and "Fall of the Last Pharaoh". The band was greeted by an AMAZING parent cheering section screaming at the top of their lungs. I heard several of the students yelling out the letters that spelled “WOODLAN” along with the cheer as they set up the field for their show. They all had smiles on their faces and they were ready to compete! Without a doubt, hearing all the cheers bolstered them up and gave them the confidence to do their best.
Our drum major, Brock Fuller
Olivia Lake, trumpet soloist
Brendan Maska, trombone soloist
Michael Crilly, snare soloist
Riley Saalfrank, saxophone soloist
And do their best, THEY DID! The Spirit of Woodlan performed an absolutely amazing show. The soloists nailed their solos and were flawless. The music was powerful, the marching was clean, and the visuals were beautiful. They really did an awesome job! Walking off the field, they all had smiles ear to ear. They knew they had done an awesome job and were proud of themselves. The band and pit crew alike hustled out from the loading docks under the stadium and ran up the giant hill back to the parking lot, huffing and puffing and pulling equipment. There were celebrations, hugs, and tears. After dropping off the equipment, the band was led back inside the stadium to have their traditional celebration with milk, as the Indiana Dairy Farmers sponsor the event. They toasted with their milk and enjoyed a job well done. After sitting in the stands for a few more bands, it was time to head to the field for the award ceremony.
As the placements were announced, there was growing excitement among the band and parents as other bands were called in 10th place, then 9th place, then 8th place, then… the Spirit of Woodlan finished in 7th place! Most students were happy with their performance and their placement, though undoubtedly, everyone likes to place higher. This was a huge accomplishment for these students after such a tumultuous year. The pandemic certainly affected the marching band world a little extra hard in 2020, as marching band was one of the few groups to have their entire season cancelled altogether. What a heartbreaking year. This season, the Spirit of Woodlan was comprised of a very young group of students, many of whom have never marched before. Those that have marched before were out of practice for a year and a half. Many don’t realize that we had several members of the band that started just a few weeks before the first competition, several that joined band when school started in the fall, and some that had never played an instrument until this fall. The hundreds of hours of hard work, effort, and dedication that these kids have sacrificed is remarkable. According to the ISSMA website, there are nearly 175 Class D schools in the state. For Spirit of Woodlan to come in 7th place at State Finals, well, that is something to be VERY proud of indeed!
The best of the best in Class D!
After packing up the trucks and buses, the band stopped for dinner at Golden Corral in Anderson. After their schedule for the day, they brought their appetites! They enjoyed time together among their friends and eating until they could not eat anymore. The seniors stood and gave some memorable Senior Speeches, some that brought a few tears, but most that brought a lot of good laughs.
The season's beautiful hardware!
The marching band season will officially come to a close next Sunday, November 14th, at the annual Spirit of Woodlan Band Banquet. Thank you to each and every one of you that volunteered your time, came out and offered support, or sent well wishes to this amazing group of kids. It was an incredible season, and these memories will last a lifetime!