Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 13, 2012

Western band wins national championship in Indy

Marching Panthers top nation’s small high school bands

The Western High School Marching Panthers were named the best of the nation’s small high school bands this weekend.

Western beat out 33 other schools from across the country Saturday during the Bands of America Grand National semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. It earned the title of class A national champion.

“It was a fantastic end to the season,” said Keith Whitford, assistant band director. “Because of its notoriety, [this competition] attracts the best bands in the country.”

The Marching Panthers competed against bands from places like Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas.

“These are some of the biggest and finest schools in the country,” Whitford said.

Western faced off with about 90 other bands in the preliminaries Thursday. Whitford said they had to wait until Friday night to find out they had qualified for the semifinals, though.

The awards ceremony ended late Friday, and the band had to turn around and perform at 8:15 the following morning.

Students loaded their instruments on buses Saturday and left for Indianapolis before 5 a.m.

“Everyone was kind of numb,” Whitford said. “They maybe had two hours of sleep.”

Their semifinals performance suffered a little bit because of it. It didn’t have the “punch and excitement” it normally had, the assistant band director said.

But students put a lot of work and a lot of heart into that show, Whitford said.

In the three days between the state finals and the national contest, students rehearsed at least 11 hours. Last Monday night, the band practiced in the Carmel High School stadium in the 32-degree weather, Whitford said.

“It was a lot of work this season,” he said.

The band didn’t make the overall finals, but it got the chance to perform a final time in the competition’s exhibition show.

Following their semifinals performance, Western band members filled an Indianapolis church to practice for the show and get some sleep.

Students crawled into sleeping bags for an hour of rest. Then they gathered in the church sanctuary to perform a warm-up hymn and rehearse the show one last time.

“I looked over at some of the parents, and there were tears streaming down,” Whitford said. “It was emotional. It was the last time we’d perform the show.”

The Marching Panthers played Saturday night to a cheering crowd that offered them a standing ovation.

Even though students weren’t being evaluated during that performance, it was their best show of the season, Whitford said.

That performance was all about celebrating. And they had a lot to celebrate, especially when they found out they were the winners in their class.

That was the icing on the cake, Whitford said. But it still wasn’t the most important thing.

“Our goal is never to win championships,” Whitford said. “Going after a trophy is a shallow goal. Our goal is to give the kids a good experience. Their goal is to outdo what they did previously.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT042414 - Coats Coats plans to join GOP senators calling for Russian sanctions INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Sen. Dan Coats wants tougher sanctions against Russia for its growing involvement in Ukraine, despite signs of wariness back home. "If there is a bully in the schoolyard, the sooner you realize that and stand up to that bully, th

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gardening-Bee Sanctuaries-3 [Duplicate] Bee sanctuaries Bees are pulling a disappearing act. Honeybees are vanishing from their hives. Bumblebee numbers have crashed so radically that some species are believed extinct. Even native solitary bees are in decline. Food supplies dependent upon pollinators are

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries