Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 13, 2012

Editorial - Nov. 13, 2012: Bands’ work pays off big

The issue: The marching band state finals.

Our view: Lewis Cass and Western deserve every accolade.


Most started back in July, learning the music and practicing formations in hopes of earning a trip to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Indiana State School Music Association marching band finals.

Some practiced twice a day in the heat of summer, not unlike their schools’ football teams.

For the Lewis Cass and Western marching bands, all of the effort – the many fundraisers, the solo work at home, the practices with others in their sections – paid off Nov. 3.

Western added a 13th state marching band title to its trophy case, winning Class C with its program, “At the Water’s Edge.” The music the band performed was arranged by Don Barrett, a Western band alumnus who makes his living in Hollywood writing music for film and television.

Cass, in its 31st consecutive appearance in the state finals, placed third in Class D with “El Ano de Los Reyes.” It was an emotional performance. The band’s former director, Mike Clark, died Sept. 30 after a long battle with cancer.

Band member Shaylee Sparks told us the Marching Kings wore green bands in Clark’s memory.

“I look at it as his hand is touching our shoulders,” Sparks said after their state performance.

For Western, too, there was pride in their fifth straight title. “We had our best performance,” senior Evan Carman said. “We worked for it and it paid off.”

Western’s best performance was yet to come, though. This past Saturday, Western was crowned best in the land as Class A national champions during the Bands of America Grand National competition in Indianapolis.

For years, Western band director Brian Caldwell and Northwestern director Jeremy Snyder have said the Kokomo area is home to some of the finest bands in a state known nationwide for marching band. It’s hard to argue with them – two of the four 2011 state champions were from here, as well as one of the national champions in 2012.

Congratulations, Cass and Western.

And kudos to Western, in particular. Western has placed second, first, first, first, first and first in the last six state competitions.