I attended tonight's finals and have been following marching band for 15-20 years. I won't mince words, so if you are offended easily, it is not intended but I am being blunt about what I saw. All of the kids seemed to do well and it is good that people are spending their free time with good programs like these. I think the 1-14 lineup proves that there not only a lot of diversity stylistically, but reasons for optimism with regard to improvement in some circles while others should consider exploring other ways to maximize the talent.
14. IVC - Energy on field but crowd was just settling in. Obviously glaring issues as any 14th place band would have, but overall a pretty strong start to the evening. Deserving of the 1A title.
13. Lincoln-Way Central - Saw them here if for no other reason than their show design is lower-level comparatively Achievement not quite there either, but well performed enough musically to make the cut and into the second show.
12. Morton - Still a developing program with upside and I am waiting for that next step to be taken. Woodwinds as I recall were the strength of the group and demand on performer probably is in the Top 8. Not sure if the run was good or not, but would've placed higher if it read that way.
11. Plainfield North - Tough slotting based on previous bands' performance -- Design very lacking in my opinion but PN plays with a full sound and their visual was fairly clean, though I hesitate to say clean with many of these shows.
10. Normal West -- Show concept was cute for mom and grandma, but I wasn't really digging it because the little kid, bed-time and all of that is overdone on the marching field. This was a stronger Normal West band than most years and it showed. Opening set was pretty nice and they didn't overuse props, as they well could have.
9. Lincoln-Way East -- Yep, this is about where I would place these guys. Very rough performance, both visually and evidently either not a great run or a weak overall band this year. I was disappointed, though I believe they still have a little time to get things together. Still, a far cry from a few years back. With T.C. at the helm, I have no doubt they'll rebound.
8. Lockport -- Music performance was quite good -- powerful, demonstrative. Now, I'm not sure if they'll ever be able to put the whole package together (music/visual demand), but watch out if that ever happens.
7. Victor J. Andrew -- Pretty solid all around. Strong representation from VJA this year.
6. O'Fallon -- Again, judges as a collective group --RIGHT ON -- Thought they had a nice showing, though visual at the back stage --of a non-consequential matter-- was a bit challenging at times.
5. Lake Park -- Music performance - Very good. Visual demand - Very average. Show concept -- Lame. Save the Music? Really? I know that if I were in their band..doing a show like this would kill my morale. But after seeing their finals score at BOA St. Louis -- watching the on-demand finals performance-- they have improved enough where I think they can sneak in Indy Super Regional Finals. Some people have them out, I have them breaking in at the back of the line, but breaking in.
4. Downers Grove South - Only mildly surprised DGS outplaced Lake Park. This was one of the strongest editions of this program I have seen. Seemed like they really geared up for finals.
3. Lincoln-Way North -- This show was extremely creative and well choreographed. The music book for the ensemble may not have been on the scale of a national finalist, but if you're going to use props, USE the props -- and LWN did to great effect. I very much enjoyed this show and I tend to be more of a purist in that I don't like props of any kind. Great work1
2. Prospect-- Always a fundamentally-sound band, which fuels a high performance at this event, though I would never go out of my way to call them groundbreaking. Respect the heck out of their staff for the consistency in the program, especially since the new regime has successfully transitioned the program into a new chapter with ease. Enjoyed the performance...but always left wanting just a little more.
1. Marian Catholic -- By far and away at an advantage with this contest falling near the final BOA competitions. Anything less than a victory here would've spelled trouble for them. Extremely layered musical program with an equally demanding visual book -- possibly just as much so for the audience as the performer. They really spread out that field. Clearly heads-and-shoulders about the competition in terms of demand, but from an effect point-of-view, I really have a difficult time getting into the final piece --namely the end portion. It ends much too abruptly for my taste.
*I read in a previous post a couple of comments of how this band or that band should have been higher. Or that Marian Catholic has to be concerned because their performance level has dropped. Couldn't disagree with both statements more.
1) The bands who played the best, marched the best AND have talented staffs that give them a competitive advantage with fine concept and drill to match tend to place higher at most competitions.
2) As long as Greg Bimm leads Marian Catholic, I highly doubt that anyone in this state will catch them in the near-future. I saw in Lincoln-Way North tonight where I think a challenge could ultimately come from in the future, but let's all realize that Marian Catholic performs in BOA Grand National Finals each year without fail with a program that progresses far past the ISU calendar. Their program is in fine shape from all things I saw tonight. I am unsure if it is national championship caliber just yet, but I don't really see anyone doing what they do in the State of Illinois.
3) Lake Park needs a better direction from a conceptual and visual point of view. Their musical performance was strong enough, in my opinion, that a more demanding visual book and a far less ridiculous concept would've possibly worked much better.
1. Marian Catholic
2. Lincoln-Way North -3.0
3. Prospect -4.0
4. Downers Grove South -8.0
5. Lake Park -9.0
6. O'Fallon -9.5
7. Victor J. Andrew -10.5
8. Lockport -11.5
9. Normal West -13
10. Lincoln-Way East -14
11. Morton - 14.5
12. Plainfield North -15
13. Illinois Valley Central -15.5
14. Lincoln-Way Central -16.5