INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 11) — Piqua High School, located since 1981 at 1 Indian Way, Piqua, on the Great Miami River in west central Ohio, brings a marching band to Lucas Oil Stadium for a preliminary performance at the Bands of America Grand National Championships.
The field show’s theme focused on the number “2” and its property of being better than 1. Musical selections were works like “Waltz Number 2” from Dmitri Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite Number 2, again focusing on the number “2.” In addition to the Shostakovich, the band also presented its renditions of Howard Hanson’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G Major” and David Maslanka’s short symphony for wind ensemble entitled “Give Us This Day.”
The school serves about 900 students in grades 9 through 12, so the marching band isn’t as large as, say, a Marian Catholic, Broken Arrow, or William Mason, which joined the festival from Mason, Ohio, put marchers on the field from end zone to end zone, and performed a band or two after Piqua during two crowded days of 99 preliminary performances.
But the smaller show was by no means any less creative and colorful. Pink flags came out at one point, and the design on them seemed to be made up of two 2s reflected on each other across a vertical axis in order to make the shape of a heart. The band also moved a few of the large white 2s on the field together like that to represent a heart shape, as the announcer mentioned how it “takes two to tango.”
Following that, the blue silks came out at the end for a climactic finish following a waltz number, which band members seemed, based on facial expressions that gave character to the performance, to enjoy a great deal.
Piqua has been in the student news lately over its choice of mascot for the sports teams. The band is known as the Pride of Piqua, but the school’s sports teams are known as the Piqua Indians. These days, after the changing of the mascot for the former Washington Redskins NFL team, attention is being paid to more than 1,200 schools in the US that refer to Native Americans in their logos or mascots.
“Town clings to racist Native American mascot that some find grossly offensive,” said one headline in Youth Journalism International from April. But it might take the Cleveland Indians changing their mascot for anything to happen at the high school level in Ohio. Change like this often starts at the top.
But sports mascots notwithstanding, the band did the school and its community proud here today in central Indiana at the largest marching band stage in the country. Preliminary performances continue Friday, followed by a 7 AM-to-midnight day of semifinals and finals on Saturday.