They knew it had been a great show. But how exactly the judges viewed and heard it – that was the big question for Blue Springs High School’s marching band, the Golden Regiment.
The band’s goal had been to make the final 12 out of 105 bands that started performing last Wednesday afternoon at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Such a feat would represent not only a first in the band’s history, but for any high school from Missouri.
“We all felt good about the performance,” recalled senior drum major Noah Burgess, “but it all depends on the judging, knowing that they could see it differently.”
“I knew it felt good when he tackled me,” director Tim Allshouse said to Burgess. “There’s 104 other bands there, and you don’t know how well the other bands are performing. You could have the show of your life and still not get the nod.”
Out of 105 bands in Indianapolis, 32 made the semifinals. Ultimately, the Golden Regiment did receive one of the dozen nods and finished 10th in the finals. When the band went to grand nationals two years ago, it finished 16th.
“It felt good to make the finals,” senior mellophone player Matt Bowman said. “You just want to leave it all out there – if that’s what you had, that’s what you had.”
“It’s really amazing,” senior drum major Sam Heggs added about making the finals and watching other bands perform in the dome. “You know they work just as hard. It gives you a humbling factor.”
Blue Springs’ show this season was an original work called “Subliminal” that tried to convey the lures of mass media.
“It’s about the tug and pull of television, the subliminal messages,” Allshouse said.
Junior drum major Matt Thalken said he could sense something special about the show when the band began to piece it together through the summer.
“The ending of the show makes me feel like I’m in a drum (and bugle) corps,” Bowman said.
“The closer, it’s so powerful,” added senior trumpeter Nick Johnson. “It’s like the icing on top of the cake.”
Allshouse said he and his fellow directors made some slight alterations in between the three performances in Indianapolis, partially based on suggestions from a sound checker upstairs in the dome.
“We changed some things up and tweaked some things,” he said. “It’s always evolving. Some of the effects we do here (at Peve Stadium during football halftime shows), people might wonder why we do them, but they’re designed for the dome.”
“That’s a big part of our job, to adapt to those changes,” Burgess said.
The band members had played in Lucas Oil Stadium before – earlier this year and two years ago at grand nationals. But that didn’t exactly defuse the awe factor.
“We’ve performed in that stadium five times, and I could go back there next week and still be amazed,” Burgess said.
“You can’t really relive that in your mind,” Bowman said. “It’s like a new high every single time.”
Exactly what the Golden Regiment achieved.