Just about a year ago, people were first hearing about The Marching Phoenix from Lincoln-Way North High School in southwest suburban Franfort. Director Bert Johnson (along with a little less than half the student body) from Lincoln-Way East headed a few miles east to the new high school on Harlem Avenue.
There he and a small group of about 60 of those students in 2008 built a program that got noticed right away, from a performance at a Bands of America competition in Centerville, Ohio, to their performance today, with the capturing of the first-place trophy in Class 4A at the State of Illinois Invitational Marching Band Championships at Illinois State University here in Normal.
The Marching Phoenix, with their show entitled “Spirit of the Canyon,” also received special caption trophies for best music performance, best visual performance, and best general effect. The school may be new, but the trophy case in the band room is filling up fast: This year, the group took first place in Class AA at the Morton Pumpkin Festival and at the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival in Wheeling.
Bloomington High School, with their show entitled “Deja View” [sic], was in Class 4A at the Morton Pumpkin Festival but joins Lincoln-Way North in Class 4A today. They won 4A at Morton, and their performance today put them in second place in Class 4A. They also received recognition for their show with the crowd appeal award.
And United Township High School from East Moline, with their show entitled “Dusk to Dawn,” took the third-place trophy in Class 4A.