Saturday, June 6, 2020
US flag

Illinois’s biggest marching weekend Sept. 19-20

The weekend of September 19-20 marks the biggest weekend of the fall for Illinois high school marching bands, which will perform at no fewer than eight festivals on Saturday and one on Sunday. On Saturday alone, 141 bands will take the field across the state.

Naperville Central performs on their home field, site of the Marching Classic (band website)

Since it’s only the second weekend of marching band competition and bands are still working diligently on their shows—a few shows this weekend are still being presented in an unfinished state—this gives us time to reflect on a few things. We know, after all, what will be coming out of band students this weekend (music), and you may wonder, What will be going into them? Into their brains? Into their long-term maturation and development?

The answer is that the lessons they learn will be as diverse as they are. Here are three take-home lessons from a high school marching band career that I think are particularly appropriate in today’s politically charged school environment (and around the upcoming presidential election):

  • Discipline and Time Management. Students have to memorize the music in order to play in a marching band, which is challenging for adolescents. They therefore have to discipline their mind, focus their concentration on the task at hand, and block out distractions that may lead their mind or attention away from performance excellence. This ability to focus patiently, long enough to achieve a goal, will help them throughout life as they master skills and knowledge in college, as a parent, in a career, in the military, or wherever their life paths take them.
  • Teamwork. Even middle school students can understand the importance of teamwork in a marching band. One player can only play one instrument (at a time), but in order to get the finished product, you need all sorts of instruments and all sorts of team members. But unlike sports teams, which have a goal of shutting down opponents, marching band “teams” have the goal of making themselves better. This is much more similar to real-life scenarios than sports teams can ever dream of coming. For example, suppose a marching trumpeter grows up to become a surgeon. In the operating room, the use of cross-disciplinary teams, which would parallel the teamwork by musicians on different instruments, improves OR scheduling and even patient outcomes, Elizabeth van Veen-Berkx and her colleagues concluded in a study published by the American College of Surgeons earlier this year.
  • Manners and Generosity. When you’re around marching bands as much as I have been, you’re going to witness some Kodak moments, maybe not the one-picture-frame kind but certainly the one-moment-in-time kind. One such moment for me occurred at the Stagg Marching Jamboree about 20 years ago. Dave Morrison, who will be adjudicating this weekend at the Morton Marching Band Invitational, was leading his Prospect Knights around the track back to their buses. They were marching in cadence and in parade formation, and about 50 or 75 members of the Victor J Andrew Thunderbolts, led by Dan Romano, who has also since retired, spontaneously broke into applause. Applauding for other bands, which happens all the time on the gridiron whenever there’s not a football team on it, teaches one of life’s most important lessons about diplomacy, acceptance of those who are different, and—dare I say—an appreciation for, and even a celebration of, those differences. Cheering for others takes nothing away from oneself.

Noon, Monticello, Sage City Invitational

Schedule of Bands (17)

12:00 — Oblong — “Queen”
12:15 — Arcola
12:30 — Heritage (Broadlands) — “Wild, Wild West!”
12:45 — Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (Arthur) — Music from The Lion King
1:00 — Tri-Valley (Downs) — “Star Trek”
1:30 — Robinson — “From Sea to Shining Sea”
1:45 — Unity (Tolono)
2:00 — Paxton-Buckley-Loda (Paxton) — “Phantom of the Opera”
2:15 — Newton — “The Scarecrow”
2:30 — Paris Cooperative
3:00 — Lincoln Community — “The Sound of Simon”
3:15 — Richland County (Olney) — “1973”
3:30 — Mt Zion — “Samurai”
4:00 — Urbana — “Minimally Speaking”
4:15 — Mattoon
4:30 — Champaign Central — “Olympus”
5:00 — Monticello (in exhibition) — “Young Person’s Guide”

12:30, Naperville Central, Marching Classic


Lockport Township looks good this year. Real good. Even early in the season.

The Porters topped Marian Catholic in Class 3A and pretty much lapped everyone else at the ninth annual Marching Classic at Benedictine University. Their show, entitled “The Water’s Edge,” features the music of Antonín Dvořák: the symphonic poem, Op. 107 (B. 195) “The Water Goblin,” written in 1896; the “Carnival Overture,” Op. 92, performed on YouTube above by the Sydney Youth Orchestra under the direction of Brian Buggy; the Largo, Movement II, from his “New World Symphony,” No 9, Op. 95 (B. 178); and for an interlude, the Waltz, Op. 54, No 4, marked allegro vivace.

Schedule of Bands (23)

12:30 — Maine West (in exhibition) (Des Plaines) — “Chasing Time”
12:45 — Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton) — “How I Wonder”
1:00 — Lemont — “A.I.”
1:15 — Niles West (Skokie) — “Ritual”
1:30 — Lakes Community (Lake Villa) — “This Is Our Time”
1:45 — Wheaton North — “The Universe”
2:15 — Benet Academy (Lisle) — “American Spectacular”
2:30 — Argo (Summit) — “Celestial Journeys”
2:45 — Providence Catholic (New Lenox) — “Take to the Skies”
3:00 — Naperville North — “Soar”
3:15 — AA Stagg (Palos Hills) — “Beyond the Sky”
3:45 — Plainfield North — “Ascend”
4:00 — Oswego — “Legend”
4:15 — Neuqua Valley (Naperville) — “A Tribute to Old Blue Eyes”
4:30 — Plainfield South — “In the Hunt”
4:45 — Carl Sandburg (Orland Park) — “If I Only Had …”
5:00 — Huntley — “Everest: The Ascent”
5:30 — Fremd (Palatine) — “The Hero Within”
5:45 — Minooka Community — “Puppetmaster”
6:00 — Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights) — “String Theory”
6:15 — Lockport Township — “The Water’s Edge”
6:30 — Naperville Central (in exhibition) — “No One Shall Sleep”
6:45 — Chicago Bears Drumline (in exhibition)

Judging Panel

Jeff Parthun & Mike Madonia — music
Erica Bough & Rick Valenzuela — visuals
Jeff Waggoner & Dr Tom Bough — music general effect
Lori Valenzuela — visual general effect
Joe Roach — percussion
Chad Quamme — color guard
Maureen Temple — drum major
Chris Babashka — timing & penalties
Jacob Harpster — MPC adjudicator
Brian Quick — announcer

2:45, Edwardsville, Tiger Ambush Classic

Schedule of Bands (21)

2:45 — Northwest (Cedar Hill, Mo.)
3:00 — Liberty (Wentzville School District, Lake St Louis, Mo.)
3:15 — Winfield, Mo.
3:30 — Living Word Christian (O’Fallon, Mo.)
3:45 — Wesclin (Trenton) — “New World”
4:15 — Effingham — “Masquerade”
4:30 — Centralia — “Shall We Dance?”
4:45 — McCluer North (Florissant, Mo.)
5:00 — St Charles, Mo.
5:15 — Salem — “Pandora Reopened”
6:15 — Mehlville (St Louis County, Mo.)
6:30 — Muriel Battle (Columbia, Mo.)
6:45 — Collinsville — “The Final Frontier”
7:00 — Francis Howell (St Charles, Mo.)
7:15 — Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.)
7:45 — Timberland (Wentzville, Mo.)
8:00 — Granite City
8:15 — Belleville East — “The Gallery”
8:30 — Alton — “Gotham”
8:45 — Washington, Mo.
9:15 — Edwardsville (in exhibition) — “Our Sanctuary: BANDed Together”

3:00, Morton Marching Invitational

IMPORTANT NOTE: Bad weather in Illinois Friday, September 18, caused the football game between Morton and Limestone to be suspended in the third quarter with Limestone leading 14-6. The game started at Morton, but because of the marching band festival, the continuation of the game has been moved to Leach Stadium in Bartonville, at Limestone Community High School. Resumption is expected at 2:00 Saturday, but back in Morton, the marching invitational is expected to proceed as originally scheduled.


Lincoln-Way East and Victor J Andrew high schools, which are about five miles away from each other straight down US Route 45 in Chicago’s south suburbs, continued on their way down to Morton to take first place and all six caption trophies in Class 3A and 2A, respectively, at the 10th annual Morton Marching Invitational on a new artificial turf surface.

About four miles west of Lincoln-Way East along US Route 30 is Lincoln-Way Central, the oldest school in the Lincoln-Way high school district. The Marching Knights took first place and all six caption trophies in Class 1A. The festival awards trophies for best music, best visuals, best general effect, best percussion, auxiliary, and winds. Some significant weight added to those buses for the trip home after this one.

Schedule of Bands (14)

3:00 — East Peoria — “Dimensions”
3:15 — Normal West — “Shadows”
3:30 — Olympia (Stanford) — “A Love Story”
3:45 — Metamora — “Summit”
4:00 — Lincoln-Way Central (New Lenox) — “Sport of the Future”
5:00 — Illinois Valley Central (Chillicothe) — “A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams”
5:15 — Dunlap — “Samurai”
5:30 — Limestone Community (Bartonville) — “The Grid”
5:45 — Victor J Andrew (Orland Hills) — “Black Gold”
6:00 — Macomb
6:15 — Glenwood (Chatham)
6:30 — Pekin Community
6:45 — Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort) — “Bliss”
7:15 — Morton (in exhibition) — “Open Your Eyes”

Judging Panel

Andy Cook, associate director of bands at Carmel High School, Ind.
David Morrison, former Illinois Teacher of the Year from Prospect High School
Chris Kaflik, band director at Broken Arrow High School, Okla.
John Bell, director of bands at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Alan Spaeth, visual designer for top WGI, DCI, and BOA ensembles
Keith Baker, visual adjudicator for DCI
Ryan Miller, visual designer and visual adjudicator for USBands
David Knowlton, percussion adjudicator for USBands
Tim Coady, color guard instructor at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

3:15, Geneseo Maple Leaf Classic

Schedule of Bands (18)

3:15 — Sherrard
3:30 — ROWVA (Oneida)
3:45 — Cambridge
4:00 — Kewanee — “The Journey Home”
4:15 — AlWood (Woodhull)
4:30 — Wethersfield (Kewanee)
5:00 — Rochelle Township — “Wicked”
5:15 — Genoa-Kingston (Genoa) — “West Side Story”
5:30 — Farmington
5:45 — Rock Falls
6:00 — Rockridge (Taylor Ridge) — “Honoring Our Military”
6:30 — Oak Park-River Forest (Oak Park) — “Firebird”
6:45 — United Township (East Moline) — “Life is a Journey”
7:00 — Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake)
7:15 — Rushville-Industry (Rushville) — “Come Sail Away”
7:30 — LaSalle-Peru (LaSalle) — “The Gift of Giving”
7:45 — Geneseo (in exhibition) — “Young Person’s Guide”
8:00 — WIU Marching Leathernecks (in exhibition)

3:30, Wheeling, Chicagoland Marching Band Festival

IMPORTANT NOTE: Bad weather in Illinois Friday, September 18, caused the football game between Wheeling and Barrington to be suspended with 1:54 left in the first quarter and Barrington leading 14-7. Because of the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival at Wheeling, the continuation of the game will take place at Hersey High School, beginning at 1:30 Saturday. The CMBF is expected to proceed as originally scheduled.

Results and News Coverage

Three bands representing the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 won big at the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival this year, including grand champion for the Prospect Marching Knights, who also earned first place in the Class AAA competition.

The band is coming off a grand championship only a week earlier at the Lake Park Lancer Joust in Roselle, the Daily Herald reports.

Schedule of Bands (21)

3:30 — HD Jacobs (Algonquin) — “Among the Stars”
3:45 — Richmond-Burton (Richmond) — “It Just Takes Some Time”
4:00 — Johnsburg
4:15 — Dwight D Eisenhower (Blue Island) — “The Tell-Tale Heart”
4:45 — McHenry
5:00 — Thornton Fractional South (Lansing) — “The Planets”
5:15 — Alan B Shepard (Palos Hills)
5:30 — William Howard Taft (Chicago) — “The Raven”
6:00 — Elk Grove (Elk Grove Village) — “300: The Last Stand”
6:15 — Glenbrook North (Northbrook)
6:30 — Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn) — “The Music of Queen”
6:45 — Rolling Meadows — “Revolution and Triumph”
7:30 — Crystal Lake Central — “Latin Heat!”
7:45 — Plainfield Central — “Revolution”
8:00 — Warren Township (Gurnee) — “Arachnophobia”
8:15 — Downers Grove South — “Beyond the Titans”
8:30 — Mundelein — Selections from West Side Story
9:00 — Glenbrook South (Glenview)
9:15 — Plainfield North — “Ascend”
9:30 — Prospect (Mt Prospect) — “In Shining Armor”
9:45 — Wheeling (in exhibition) — “Bird”

4:20, Murphysboro, Drums at Appletime

Schedule of Bands (11)

4:20 — Anna-Jonesboro (Anna)
4:35 — Sparta
4:50 — Johnston City
5:05 — Pinckneyville Community
5:20 — Carterville
5:35 — Potosi, Mo.
6:20 — Carbondale — “DREAMZzz”
6:35 — Mascoutah — “A Journey”
6:50 — Marion — “Bloom”
7:05 — Waterloo — “A Brand New World”
7:20 — Murphysboro (in exhibition)

Some Bands Take Part Only in the Parade (12+)

Murphysboro Middle School
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (Norris City)
Shawnee (Wolf Lake)
Sesser-Valier (Sesser)
Trico (Campbell Hill)
Bismarck-Henning (Bismarck)
Civic Memorial (Bethalto)
DuQuoin Middle School
Anna-Jonesboro Junior High (Anna)
Pinckneyville Junior High

4:30, Pontiac Indian Showdown

IMPORTANT NOTE: Bad weather in Illinois Friday, September 18, caused the football game between Pontiac and Mahomet-Seymour to be postponed. The game will take place at 6 PM Monday as a home game for Pontiac. As a result of that rescheduling, the field is clear for the Indian showdown on Saturday.

Schedule of Bands (16)

4:30 — Fieldcrest (Minonk) — “The Music of Elvis 2015”
4:45 — Watseka Community — “Celtic Celebration”
5:00 — El Paso-Gridley (El Paso)
5:15 — University (Normal)
5:30 — Prairie Central (Fairbury)
5:45 — Eureka — “What If …?”
6:45 — Danville — “The Journey”
7:00 — Morris Community — “A Light from Within”
7:15 — Streator Township
7:30 — East Peoria — “Dimensions”
7:45 — Plainfield East — “Rush Hour”
8:00 — Normal West — “Shadows”
8:15 — Joliet West — “Transformation”
8:30 — Centennial (Champaign) — “Into Darkness”
8:45 — Washington Community — Music from Phantom of the Opera
9:00 — Pontiac Township (in exhibition) — “Heroes Fallen, Not Forgotten”

What are some of your Kodak moments in marching band, and what do you think they taught you?

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.