Two years after the group placed 10th at the Bands of America Grand Nationals, Blue Springs High School's marching band, the Golden Regiment, returned to Indianapolis and finished one spot higher.
But to director Tim Allshouse and his band students, simply being chosen as one of the 12 bands in the finals was the big prize. Overall, the Golden Regiment finished ninth out of 104 during the Grand Nationals, which were Nov. 8-11 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Just having a chance to play three times and get into the finals, the placement didn't matter,” Allshouse said. “It was electric, and when you have that many great bands, you're just happy to have the chance to play.
“It's kind of like the Olympics. It's just how the judges see it that point in time.”
Thirty-two bands were selected from the two-day preliminaries for the semifinals, and Blue Springs remains the only Missouri school to ever be selected for the Grand National semis, Allshouse noted. The Golden Regiment rated eighth in the semifinal round before the Saturday evening finals performance. The band from nearby Carmel High School in Indiana was grand champion.
Allshouse, whose daughter is a senior and played flute and did color guard with the Golden Regiment, said his students showed a lot of “grit” this season with their show “Burtonized,” a show designed to evoke the mood of director Tim Burton's often dark and quirky movies. The show included some melodic hints of Burton movies but was mostly original.
“It was nice for this group of kids to have a tangible reward for the effort they put in,” he said of playing in the finals. “We didn't know if it would happen again, so it was neat to be able to do it again.”
Among other area bands, the Jaguar Pride from Blue Springs South placed 13th out of 68 bands at the BOA Super Regionals Oct. 20-21 in Indianapolis. South had the 14th-best point total after the preliminary round, and the top 14 made the finals.
The same weekend, Grain Valley's Marching Eagles placed fifth out of 65 bands at the Super Regionals in St. Louis, where the Golden Regiment took second. Grain Valley had been sixth after the preliminaries.
Lee's Summit North's band won the Smith-Cotton Marching Festival in September.
The 2017-18 Missouri High School All-State Choir was selected last month, and it includes nine Examiner-area students – three of them alternates.
From Lee's Summit North, senior Sophia Gerling is a soprano and senor Kennedy Mitchell is an alto. Blue Springs junior Lindsey Ziefle and Truman junior Elena Yroz are alto alternates.
Tenors include Blue Springs junior Sam Aubuchon and Fort Osage seniors Lane Sullivan and D'Angelo Talbot, with Van Horn junior Paul Hemingway as an alternate. Truman senior Blake Savidge was selected as a bass.
Ten Examiner-area students were selected to the All-State Band following Saturday's auditions, including four alternates.
From Blue Springs, juniors Caitlyn Smith (flute), Tyler Dye (clarinet) are joined by classmates and alternates Mandi Brown (clarinet) and Alyssa Fritz (bass clarinet). From Grain Valley, junior Charles Cross was selected for trombone, sophomore Collin Tischner for percussion and senior Brian Jones for alternate percussion.
Lee's Summit North senior Sabra Hasek was selected for piccolo, Blue Springs South senior Colin Brown was selected for alto saxophone and Truman junior Jacob Presler is an alternate baritone.