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The Final Portal: State Finals!!!

The time had finally come to head inside Lucas Oil Stadium and get ready to perform in the ISSMA Open Class D State Finals. We had been concerned about the high likelihood of rain and were prepared by covering equipment in tarps and had ponchos ready for students. Fortunately, the rain held off, and we were able to get inside without getting wet. It was time for the students to head off to Warm-ups.

The band headed into Lucas Oil Stadium

Heading to Warmups

During Warmups

Some of the staff backstage: Nathan Spellman, Eli Neeley, Jason Carlson, and Mr. Slattery

The Pit Crew waiting for the students during Warmups.

The Pit Crew watching bands perform in the stadium

The Pit Crew entrance onto the field.

The students waiting to take the field.

The Spirit of Woodlan performed 5th out of 10 bands in ISSMA Open Class D State Finals. They took the field for performance at 5:40pm. It was their best performance yet, and the students were proud of their performance. They did a great job and made their supporters proud!

Love this sweet moment between Apryl and Mitch Hoot - Apryl has been a band mom with the Spirit of Woodlan for 37 seasons. Her last child, Emmalee, is a senior and this will be her last marching band season having a student in the band.

Ready to perform!

A duet with Rachel Sisson and Olivia Lake

A saxophone trio of Caitlyn Walter, Alex Raby, and Riley Saalfrank

Drum Major Josiah Thomas

After the performance, the students headed back to the semi and trailer to unload pit equipment, props, and flags. They quickly returned inside to celebrate their performance with the traditional bottles of milk. ISSMA is sponsored by the American Dairy Association Indiana (Winners Drink Milk), who always provide milk for the bands after their performance. They had the choice of white, chocolate, and strawberry milk. It's the only time students are allowed to have anything other than water in their uniforms! They get a pass for State Finals!

The students sat together in the stands and watched the remaining bands perform until it was time for the Awards Ceremony. At the Awards Ceremony, there was a lot of anticipation as they announced the results. Unfortunately, the Spirit of Woodlan was announced first in the Tenth-Place spot. It was not the outcome that anyone had hoped for, but there was a collective gratitude and appreciation to be among the Top Ten bands in the state and to qualify for State Finals. That is quite an accomplishment. This year's rankings were:

  1. Mater Dei Marching Wildcats

  2. Lewis Cass Marching Kings

  3. Springs Valley Blackhawk Brigade

  4. Forest Park Marching Rangers

  5. Pride of Paoli

  6. Monrovia Bulldog Brigade

  7. Southridge Marching Raider Band

  8. Adams Central Squadron of Sound

  9. Orleans Bulldog Regiment

  10. Spirit of Woodlan

Buttercup the Cow

Lining up for Awards

Drum Majors Josiah Thomas and Camdyn Garrison

Accepting the Award for 10th Place

After the Awards Ceremony, the students quickly returned to the buses to change out of uniforms, finish loading the trailer, and get on the road. They headed to the Golden Corral, where they shared dinner together and finished their season with speeches by the seniors. They gave meaningful speeches that connected with a lot of the students, and there were even some shocking, mic-drop moments!

Katie Chlebek

Aidan Kill

Riley Saalfrank

Emmalee Hoot - she gave a speech with an ending that won't soon be forgotten!

Olivia Lake

Kacie Bowers

After dinner, the students loaded back into their buses made the drive home to Woodlan. They returned back to the school around 1am. The day was filled with lots of tears, especially by the seniors, who were very aware of all the "lasts" of the day: their last bus ride to a competition, their last time in uniform, their last performance, their last dinner with the band at Golden Corral, etc. Other students were saddened by their "lasts" with the seniors, who had been leaders and with them throughout their band career. There were lots of tears from disappointment in their placement, as well as general tears that the season was now over. It is difficult on the students to spend so much time together all summer long, in practices in the fall, all day long on competition weekends, etc., when it is all finally over. Many of these students will return to practices soon, as both Winter Guard and Winter Winds will begin in a few short weeks. This will give them the opportunity to play again with their friends and provide them with the thrill of competition in the months ahead.

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