Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Carmel band wins 4th Grand Nationals title

The Bands of America Grand National Championships, the largest marching band festival in the US, by far, concluded Saturday night in Indianapolis and named Carmel High School from Carmel, Indiana, the grand champion for the fourth time, according to the Bands of America website.

The Carmel Marching Band is directed by Chris Kreke, with assistance from Carmel director of bands, Michael Pote, Andy Cook, and Kyle Young. The grand championship marks the fourth time the band has been so named (2005, 2012, 2016), more times than any other marching band in the country save one: Marian Catholic High School from Chicago Heights, Illinois, which has been named the grand champion at this 42-year-old competition seven times (1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1997, 2000).

Bands that have been named grand champion at the Grand Nationals three times include Avon High School from Indiana (the only other three-peat winner: 2008, 2009, 2010), Broken Arrow High School from Oklahoma, Plymouth-Canton Educational Park from Michigan, and Rocky Mount High School from North Carolina.

Carmel H.S. in performance, finals run (photo: Bands of America via Twitter)

Carmel High School was first authorized in 1888, with the first graduating class of six students walking in 1890. The current school building, built in 1958 and expanded in 1961 and 1969, now serves more than 4,800 students, 97 percent of whom graduate. With a total minority enrollment of 22 percent and 11 percent of the student population eligible for free or reduced-price lunch programs, the school is eligible for status as a Title I school.

In addition to the grand champion trophy, the band will also bring the trophy for first place in class AAAA, the highest enrollment-based classification at the event, back to the school, some 18 miles north of Lucas Oil Stadium, where the event took place. Carmel also received awards for best visuals and best general effect within that class. Broken Arrow, which won the Grand Nationals in 2015, won the award for best music in class AAAA.

Marian Catholic was named the champion in class AA and received awards for best music, best visuals, and best general effect in that enrollment class. The championship band from that 1000-student school in the south suburbs of Chicago also performed in the finals.

O’Fallon Township High School from Illinois performed in the semifinals round but came in 14th place overall, just barely missing the cut for finals by two bands. Also from Illinois, Lake Park High School in Roselle and Metamora Township in Limestone sent bands to compete. No bands from Maryland participated this year in the Grand Nationals.

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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