Monday, October 18, 2021

IL marching’s biggest weekend


The biggest weekend for marching band in Illinois is typically the second week, and this year is no different. In all, we know about eight festivals across the state, involving more than 120 high school marching band performances, according to Dan Balash at Illinois Marching Online.

Morton High School Marching Band September 10 2016
Morton performs last weekend in Washington. Morton’s home festival is Saturday. (Voxitatis)

The Bands of America circuit kicks off Saturday, with regional festivals at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia; at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium in McAllen, Texas; and at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. One Illinois band, Naperville North, is scheduled to perform at the regional contest in Monroeville at 11:15 AM. The band’s show is entitled “Mondrian: Hip to Be Square.”

BOA said Norwin High School from Pa. came in first at the Monroeville regional. (school website)

Norwin High School, the festival’s grand champion, also won it in 2012 and 2013, and Kiski Area High School, which was featured on these pages in our multi-part special coverage of Bands of America’s 40th year, was named grand champion in 2014 and 2015. Even before this festival came to Monroeville, these two bands scored a grand championship each in 2010 and 2011, when the festival took place in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

The story we wrote about Kiski Area, entitled “Marching Competition Is A Head Fake At Kiski Area,” is the single most read story on this website, having been viewed more than 19,300 times on November 22 alone.

Naperville North took home a trophy as the third-place band in Class 4A. According to our Bands of America Database of Champions, which has loaded most of the trophies awarded by the organization, this is the first trophy for Naperville North at a BOA event since they won the same trophy at the regional festival in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on October 10, 2009.

Festivals in the state of Illinois on Saturday number eight.

All festivals described on this page take place on Saturday, September 17, and all bands are from Illinois high schools, except where noted. Voxitatis will update this page with results and any additional information as it becomes available over the next few days.

15th Sage City Invitational, Monticello, Noon

Schedule of Bands

12:00 — Oblong
12:15 — Arcola
12:30 — Heritage, Broadlands — Back to the ’80s
12:45 — Tri-Valley, Downs — Persis

1:15 — Unity, Tolono
1:30 — Newton — Mad’s World
1:45 — Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Paxton — West Side Story

2:15 — Richland County, Olney — Aerodynamics
2:30 — Rantoul Township — The Music of Journey

3:00 — Champaign Centennial — The Music of Michael Jackson
3:15 — Mattoon
3:45 — Monticello — 1001 Nights


The band from Champaign Centennial High School was named the grand champion of this festival, according to the full recap sheet.

9th Tiger Ambush Classic, Edwardsville, 2:00

Schedule of Bands

2:00 — Winfield HS, Winfield, Missouri
2:15 — Effingham
2:30 — Carterville
2:45 — Sullivan
3:00 — Mater Dei, Breese
3:15 — Wesclin — Look Closer

3:45 — Mehlville HS, St Louis, Missouri (Facebook)
4:00 — Centralia — The Heist
4:15 — Salem Community — Looking Grimm
4:30 — St Charles HS, St Charles, Missouri

5:30 — Mascoutah — Music of Danny Elfman
5:45 — Fort Zumwalt East HS, St Peters, Missouri
6:00 — Rushville-Industry, Rushville
6:15 — Highland
6:30 — Francis Howell Central HS, St Charles, Missouri
6:45 — Timberland HS, Wentzville, Missouri
7:00 — Parkway South HS, Manchester, Missouri

7:30 — Washington HS, Washington, Missouri
7:45 — Normal West — Letters to Juliet
8:00 — Belleville East — Which Witch
8:15 — Granite City
8:30 — O’Fallon Township — The Missing Piece
8:45 — Lindbergh HS, Sappington, Missouri
9:00 — Alton
9:30 — Edwardsville


O’Fallon Township High School was named grand champion at this festival and took home caption trophies for outstanding music, visuals, and percussion in Class 4A, according to the full recap sheet.

49th Chicagoland Marching Band Festival, Wheeling, 3:00

A special note about this festival

This is the longest-running marching band festival at an Illinois high school, first coming to Wheeling High School (map) in 1968. The band at Wheeling is working under a new director this year, following the retirement in June of longtime band director Brian Logan. Voxitatis talked with him and a few of his students before he left.

“Playing music at a high level and having fun along the way is what we do,” Mr Logan said. “If you do the work, then the performance becomes a celebration of quality.”

Schedule of Bands

3:00 — McHenry
3:15 — Grant Community, Fox Lake — Batman
3:30 — Niles West, Skokie
3:45 — HD Jacobs, Algonquin — Grovers Corners 2016
4:00 — Lakes Community, Lake Villa — The Room
4:15 — Dwight D Eisenhower, Blue Island — Suspicious Minds

4:45 — William Howard Taft, Chicago — To Tame the Perilous Skies
5:00 — Thornton Fractional South, Lansing — Masquerade
5:15 — Alan B Shepard, Palos Heights — Scheherazade
5:30 — Waukegan — The Elements
5:45 — Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake — Resurrection

6:15 — Glenbrook North, Northbrook
6:30 — Rolling Meadows — Desert Winds
6:45 — United Township, East Moline — Flight
7:00 — Elk Grove, Elk Grove Village — The Coven
7:15 — Fremd, Palatine — Pandora’s Box

8:00 — Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn — The Music of Billy Joel
8:15 — Crystal Lake Central — Rock Music of the ’60s
8:30 — Mundelein
8:45 — Glenbrook South, Glenview — Sound, Shape and Color

9:15 — Warren Township, Gurnee — Pearl Harbor
9:30 — Waubonsie Valley, Aurora — The Devil in the White City
9:45 — Prospect, Mt Prospect — In the Arena
10:00 — Wheeling — Mangione


Prospect High School was named grand champion at the 49th Chicagoland Marching Band Festival. The northwest-suburban band also took home four of the five caption trophies in Class 3A (best music, visuals, general effect, percussion, and auxiliary), according to the full recap sheet. The championship marks Prospect’s third consecutive title at this storied marching band festival. A summary is available on Illinois Marching Online.

Morton Marching Invitational, 3:00

Schedule of Bands

3:00 — East Peoria — Hiraeth
3:15 — Mt Zion — Medea: Music of Samuel Barber
3:30 — Rockford — Identity
3:45 — Danville — Who Do You Think You Are?
4:00 — Metamora — The Night Circus

5:00 — Macomb — Dies Irae – Dies Vitae
5:15 — Pekin Community — Dreams
5:30 — Glenwood, Chatham — Riverdance
5:45 — Normal Community — Letters to Juliet
6:00 — Rock Island — wacked POE-etic
6:15 — Victor J Andrew, Tinley Park — This Heart of Glass
6:45 — Morton — Untamed


Victor J Andrew High School was named grand champion at the Morton Invitational, according to the full recap sheet. The band also won all three caption trophies in Class 3A.

Judging Panel

Music Performance Individual: Andy Cook
Music Performance Ensemble: Kyle Young
Visual Performance Individual: Ryan Miller
Visual Performance Ensemble: Chad Quamme
Music General Effect: Tim Snyder
Music General Effect: Mike Bolla
Visual General Effect: Alan Spaeth
Percussion: Kevin Lepper
Auxiliary: Tim Coady
Timing: Chuck Nagel

A special guest at Tuesday’s rehearsal

Band members spontaneously started hugging Mikayla Bankes at the band’s rehearsal Tuesday, which they did in full uniform, WMBD-TV (CBS affiliate, Peoria) reports.

Her father, who is in hospice and had never seen her perform with the band, was in the stands, brought there in an ambulance and with EMTs from Morton standing by.

“Mikayla had a wish to have her father see her perform that was also a wish for her father to see her perform,” the station quoted band director Jeff Neavor as saying.

“I was talking with someone and people just started hugging me and then I realized that my dad was there in the stands,” Mikayla said.

Geneseo Maple Leaf Classic, 3:15

Schedule of Bands

3:15 — Prophetstown
3:30 — Hamilton
3:45 — Rochelle Township — Music of Queen
4:00 — Orion
4:15 — AlWood, Woodhull
4:30 — Cambridge
4:45 — Rock Falls
5:00 — El Paso-Gridley, El Paso — Carmen
5:15 — Kewanee

5:45 — Rockridge, Taylor Ridge
6:00 — Sherrard — Go West, Young Man
6:15 — Genoa-Kingston, Genoa — MYSTery
6:30 — Farmington Central — Spies
6:45 — Coal City — Sonido del Fuego
7:00 — LaSalle-Peru, La Salle — Level Up

7:30 — Canton — Imagine
7:45 — Oak Park/River Forest, Oak Park — Phat Tuesday
8:00 — Moline
8:15 — Ottumwa HS, Ottumwa, Iowa
8:30 — Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa — The Grid
8:45 — Geneseo — The Music of the Geneseo Knights


LaSalle-Peru was named grand champion at the Maple Leaf Classic, according to the full recap sheet. The band also won three of the four caption trophies in Class 2A (best winds, color guard, and percussion). A summary of the festival is available on Illinois Marching Online.

Live streaming available on NFHS Network

Geneseo High School has arranged for the Maple Leaf Classic to be webcast live on the network for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS Network). Viewing the festival may require a subscription, but it is usually available for free.

A note about this festival

Each band gets a one-hour clinic from an expert adjudicator with cross-caption expertise prior to performing in the class competition, which is based on band size.

The competition uses score sheets modeled after those developed by the Florida Marching Band Coalition, which makes use of one set of adjudication score sheets and judging guidelines for corps-style bands and a different set for show-style bands.

The FMBC often licenses their score sheets for use in other contests around the country and the world. The adjudication system is widely accepted among music educators.

Drums at Appletime, Murphysboro, 4:15

Bands perform on the final day of the 65th annual Murphysboro Apple Festival. The festival is the oldest and largest alcohol-free festival in southern Illinois. Over 45,000 people attend the festival each year.

Activities during the four days of the Apple Festival include evening stage shows, a carnival, the Queen Contest, Prince and Princess Contest, and other contests, including the marching band competition as well as apple pie eating, a car show, a 5K walk/run, and more.

The Grand Parade is considered by some people to be the largest parade in southern Illinois. It features an average of about 160 total units, 25 of which are marching bands.

Schedule of Bands

Not available.


Potosi High School in Potosi, Missouri, tweeted that their marching band, with a show entitled “The Twilight Zone,” took first place in Class AA and swept all caption trophies at the festival. Class AA isn’t the highest enrollment class at the festival, but no other information is available yet from confirmed sources.

Wheaton North Falcon Marching Band Festival 2016, 4:30

Here’s to dedication

When the stadium lights went out during a late August rehearsal for the band from Marian Catholic High School, band members used the flashlights in their cellphones to light their way. And there’s video to boot!

Schedule of Bands

4:30 — Sandwich — The Guiding Light
4:45 — Providence Catholic New Lenox — What Do I Desire?
5:00 — Elmwood Park
5:15 — Wheaton Warrenville South, Wheaton — Recess

5:45 — Fort Atkinson HS, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
6:00 — AA Stagg, Palos Hills — For All Mankind
6:15 — Plainfield North — Spellbound
6:30 — Plainfield South — L.I.F.E. – Love Is Forever Enduring
6:45 — Downers Grove South — Cosmic

7:30 — Plainfield Central — The Sleeper and the Spindle
7:45 — Hinsdale South, Darien — Superheroes
8:00 — Oak Creek HS, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
8:15 — Minooka Community — Into the Cosmos
8:30 — Bolingbrook — Mirror Image
8:45 — Marian Catholic, Chicago Heights — Unbroken
9:00 — Carl Sandburg, Orland Park — The Forbidden Forest
9:15 — Wheaton North — Elevate


Marian Catholic was named grand champion of the Wheaton North Falcon Fest, according to the full recap sheet.

Judging Panel

General Effect Music: John Apple
General Effect Music: Tim Yontz
General Effect Visual: Brad Tilley
Music Performance Ensemble: Pete Griffin
Music Performance Individual: Mike Madonia
Visual Performance Ensemble: Mike Marcantano
Visual Performance Individual: Michal Lisowyj
Percussion: Adam Hill
Auxiliary: Chuck Cummings
Drum Majors: Morgan Lanahan
Timing & Penalties: Kurt Makaryk

Live streaming available on NFHS Network

Wheaton North High School has arranged for the Falcon Fest to be webcast live on the network for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS Network). Viewing the festival may require a subscription, but it is usually available for free.


13th Pontiac Indian Showdown, 5:00

Schedule of Bands

5:00 — Olympia, Stanford — New Horizons
5:15 — Hoopeston Area
5:30 — Eureka — Shine

6:00 — Prairie Central, Fairbury
6:15 — Streator Township — Wicked
6:30 — University, Normal — Elemental
6:45 — East Peoria — Hiraeth

7:15 — Washington Community — Step in Time
7:30 — Joliet West — Chasing Shadows
7:45 — Plainfield East — Under the Bed
8:00 — Pontiac Township — Fantasy on a Hymn

Live streaming

The event will be streamed live on The, and a subscription or free account setup may be required to view it.


Congratulations to Washington Community High School, named grand champion at the Pontiac Indian Showdown. Under the direction of Jim Tallman and field leadership of drum majors Kathryn Longfellow and Rachel Baer, the unit performed a show entitled “Step in Time,” based on music from the Broadway musical Mary Poppins.

Washington Community High School performs “Step in Time,” September 2016 (Voxitatis)

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

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