INDIANAPOLIS – Two area marching band teams are bringing gold back home.

Western and Lewis Cass high school both won state titles in their respective divisions at the 2019 ISSMA Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Western Marching Panthers Band Director Brian Caldwell was overjoyed with the win and found the moment difficult to describe.

“It’s almost an indescribable feeling of joy,” he said. “It is very difficult to achieve what the kids have achieved. They really answered the call this year.”

This is Western’s 17th state championship. According to Caldwell the band spent roughly 300 hours preparing for this show. The performance entitled “I Am” expressed how people look at themselves and their self-worth. Throughout the show the words “I am” were repeated in phrases such as “I am strong” and “I am happy.”

“Our desire was to show how we perceive ourselves and how we think of ourselves. ‘I Am’ were very important words that we used,” Caldwell said. “… the audience can react it to emotionally and makes you think about how you are living your life.

“It was emotional to perform … a lot of people have commented that it has been something special for them to hear that.”

Western drum major and five-time state championship competitor Faith Bradley was proud of herself and the entire band. She found the show to be very personal and that helped motivate the band.

“At first it we weren’t aware of what it meant but throughout the season everyone really understood it was about themselves and that we are enough. I think that’s what really pushed us to where we ended up,” she said. “I would say that we had a goal, we went out there, we gave it our all … and have the best run we’ve had so far.

“My whole body was shaking. I was nervous, I was excited, it was indescribable.”

Western senior drum major Madelyn Kunkle has been on three state championship teams but was still overcome with emotion once she found out the team had won.

“When I found out we won I cried like a little baby and just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “When I first got here this morning and we rehearsed I felt really confident … we were going to have the run of our lives whether we won or not.”

Both bands were appreciative of the all the parents and administrators for all the help, support and sacrifices they have made to help their bands succeed.

Lewis Cass Marching Kings Assistant Director Tyler Long gave all the credit to the students for the class D win, after previously competing in class C.