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Ok, I see that no one from Southern IL is commenting on the state of marching band from I 70 to the south. So will anyone from the state no matter where want to comment or even anyone from any part of the country want to comment?

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I don't think the lack of replies is due to the fact that no one wants to comment on the "state of marching bands from I-70 to the south," I think asking how their shows stack up to BOA caliber shows kills the discussion.

 

Only a very few Southern Illinois bands regularly participate in BOA (and I can't name anyone but Murphysboro off the top of my head -- anyone want to help with that?), so you're severely limiting the scope of any discussion.

 

I got to take in shows at Murphysboro, Effingham, and Pinckneyville this season and as a whole, I think Southern Illinois bands had really good seasons this year -- it might be more productive to talk about some of the schools that have really improved during the last few seasons. From my observations, the smallest-school classes have shown the most improvement during the last three seasons. For example, Johnston City and Anna-Jonesboro have really come along.

 

Also discussion-worthy are bands that march parade only. Have you ever seen Columbia move down the street? Their spacing is so spot-on front-to-back and side-to-side that their diagonals are always gorgeous. Want to teach your band how to take corners? Watch them -- their technique is about as flawless as it gets and they make it look easy.

 

Which Southern Illinois shows did you go to this year, and what stood out to you?

 

 

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Ok so lets change this up that do you think of the state of So IL marching bands. Collinsville and O'Fallon go to BOA events. I live out of state now so I do not get to keep up with Il bands except through these forums. From time to time I get to see a vid online.

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Edwardsville had a great show this year. I didn't get a chance to see Collinsville or O'Fallon.

 

It's hard to say how did bands "Stack up" against one another because they don't really see one another from both parts of the state, unless they do ISU or U of I - and since U of I judging is quite questionable when using it to "compare" against other shows, which you can't, you really only have ISU to deal with, and not many "southern" IL bands went to ISU (Collinsville, Effingham..........I can't think of any others off the top of my head).

 

Centralia also had a fine show put together, as did the Belleville schools.

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I don't think the lack of replies is due to the fact that no one wants to comment on the "state of marching bands from I-70 to the south," I think asking how their shows stack up to BOA caliber shows kills the discussion.

 

Only a very few Southern Illinois bands regularly participate in BOA (and I can't name anyone but Murphysboro off the top of my head -- anyone want to help with that?), so you're severely limiting the scope of any discussion.

 

I got to take in shows at Murphysboro, Effingham, and Pinckneyville this season and as a whole, I think Southern Illinois bands had really good seasons this year -- it might be more productive to talk about some of the schools that have really improved during the last few seasons. From my observations, the smallest-school classes have shown the most improvement during the last three seasons. For example, Johnston City and Anna-Jonesboro have really come along.

 

Also discussion-worthy are bands that march parade only. Have you ever seen Columbia move down the street? Their spacing is so spot-on front-to-back and side-to-side that their diagonals are always gorgeous. Want to teach your band how to take corners? Watch them -- their technique is about as flawless as it gets and they make it look easy.

 

Which Southern Illinois shows did you go to this year, and what stood out to you?

You can't think of another BOA band other than Murpheysboro???? What about O'Fallon? A Grand National Semi-Finalst!!

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I don't think the lack of replies is due to the fact that no one wants to comment on the "state of marching bands from I-70 to the south," I think asking how their shows stack up to BOA caliber shows kills the discussion.

 

Only a very few Southern Illinois bands regularly participate in BOA (and I can't name anyone but Murphysboro off the top of my head -- anyone want to help with that?), so you're severely limiting the scope of any discussion.

 

I got to take in shows at Murphysboro, Effingham, and Pinckneyville this season and as a whole, I think Southern Illinois bands had really good seasons this year -- it might be more productive to talk about some of the schools that have really improved during the last few seasons. From my observations, the smallest-school classes have shown the most improvement during the last three seasons. For example, Johnston City and Anna-Jonesboro have really come along.

 

Also discussion-worthy are bands that march parade only. Have you ever seen Columbia move down the street? Their spacing is so spot-on front-to-back and side-to-side that their diagonals are always gorgeous. Want to teach your band how to take corners? Watch them -- their technique is about as flawless as it gets and they make it look easy.

 

Which Southern Illinois shows did you go to this year, and what stood out to you?

You can't think of another BOA band other than Murpheysboro???? What about O'Fallon? A Grand National Semi-Finalst!!

 

gotta look at the date. 2008

 

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I'll try to breath some life into this forum! What I say maybe not politically correct or more appropriately bandlically correct but I will say it and I hope you respond. Of course this is my opinion alone and I am sure that the folks in charge of the Crimson Express will disavow my opinions. In other words, judges, don't hold my opinions against them. 

 

Here we go. I have been to the "Big" BOA competitions with the "Big" bands and I am not impressed in the least with what I have seen and many Southern Illinois bands are much better!!!! It turns out that many of the marching bands in the south are...well...marching bands. They have accomplished the difficult task of marching and playing at the same time!

 

Many of these so called "Big" marching bands, march in shifts or let the pit do the playing while the rest of the band does the marching. Some of these big boys should drop the facade and start calling themselves "standing bands". Half of the band stands and plays and the other half march, then they flip it. Then when they finally do march and play they tend to play follow the leader or other easy routine. When I was in marching band, I loved routines where all I had to do was follow the guy in front of me. Judges should mark down heavily any time the follow the leader type of marching is used. It is a cop out. 

 

Lets talk about the money!!!! (Now I gonna get in trouble!) Many of these "Big" bands use their money to cover up bad marching and bad playing. I know that some people like all the fireworks, professionally produced sets, professionally produced audio fills and voice over work and elaborate costumes but really do we need to spend more that our director's salary on set design? ??? Just asking. I feel many of the sets are saying, "Aren't we pretty? Ignore the intonation." 

 

Also, small bands are better because there is no faking it. When you have two Tubas there is no faking your part. If you have fifteen, just try to look like you are playing (If you don't know it fake it just get to where you are supposed to). Also, one person out of step in a band of fifty stands out like a sore thumb. There is no place to hide!!!! Just look at the feet of the big boys. I sometimes wonder if they are marching or stomping grapes??? Yet equally as good small bands are marked down because they are....smaller. Let's quit hiding from that fact and just admit it.

 

Lastly, some folks from a very small band was at their very first competition. I asked them what their band was playing and they said a patriotic theme.  I said great it has been years since I had heard patriotic tunes at a competition. They were stunned. The little band did a great job and I told the people they should be proud. As the competition wore on they asked if all of the music was always so dark and depressing. I said unfortunately yes. Apparently, performing music that makes you want to slit your wrists in the stadium bathroom is a real judge pleaser because lots of "Big" bands play it. The bigger the band the more depressing it is. I guess I'm in the minority but the first question I ask myself when assessing a show is, "Would I like to see that performance again?" With the unoriginal tripe that masquerades itself as art because it is depressing being played by so many "Big" bands the answer to that questions is no way, I would rather watch a hundred hours of documentaries on the Holocaust (coincidentally a common marching band theme).       

 

I probably have said too much, but when you are talking about Southern Illinois you are usually talking about smaller bands (other than around St. Louis.) and it is time that we look at what a marching band is meant to be. A band that is marching!!!! We have great bands in our region and if you don't believe me get to a competition near you!!!! 

 

Hey, don't get mad about the post just express your opinion. Tell me how wrong I am. I'm just stirring the pot.  

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I'll try to breath some life into this forum! What I say maybe not politically correct or more appropriately bandlically correct but I will say it and I hope you respond. Of course this is my opinion alone and I am sure that the folks in charge of the Crimson Express will disavow my opinions. In other words, judges, don't hold my opinions against them. 

 

Here we go. I have been to the "Big" BOA competitions with the "Big" bands and I am not impressed in the least with what I have seen and many Southern Illinois bands are much better!!!! It turns out that many of the marching bands in the south are...well...marching bands. They have accomplished the difficult task of marching and playing at the same time!

 

Many of these so called "Big" marching bands, march in shifts or let the pit do the playing while the rest of the band does the marching. Some of these big boys should drop the facade and start calling themselves "standing bands". Half of the band stands and plays and the other half march, then they flip it. Then when they finally do march and play they tend to play follow the leader or other easy routine. When I was in marching band, I loved routines where all I had to do was follow the guy in front of me. Judges should mark down heavily any time the follow the leader type of marching is used. It is a cop out. 

 

Lets talk about the money!!!! (Now I gonna get in trouble!) Many of these "Big" bands use their money to cover up bad marching and bad playing. I know that some people like all the fireworks, professionally produced sets, professionally produced audio fills and voice over work and elaborate costumes but really do we need to spend more that our director's salary on set design? ??? Just asking. I feel many of the sets are saying, "Aren't we pretty? Ignore the intonation." 

 

Also, small bands are better because there is no faking it. When you have two Tubas there is no faking your part. If you have fifteen, just try to look like you are playing (If you don't know it fake it just get to where you are supposed to). Also, one person out of step in a band of fifty stands out like a sore thumb. There is no place to hide!!!! Just look at the feet of the big boys. I sometimes wonder if they are marching or stomping grapes??? Yet equally as good small bands are marked down because they are....smaller. Let's quit hiding from that fact and just admit it.

 

Lastly, some folks from a very small band was at their very first competition. I asked them what their band was playing and they said a patriotic theme.  I said great it has been years since I had heard patriotic tunes at a competition. They were stunned. The little band did a great job and I told the people they should be proud. As the competition wore on they asked if all of the music was always so dark and depressing. I said unfortunately yes. Apparently, performing music that makes you want to slit your wrists in the stadium bathroom is a real judge pleaser because lots of "Big" bands play it. The bigger the band the more depressing it is. I guess I'm in the minority but the first question I ask myself when assessing a show is, "Would I like to see that performance again?" With the unoriginal tripe that masquerades itself as art because it is depressing being played by so many "Big" bands the answer to that questions is no way, I would rather watch a hundred hours of documentaries on the Holocaust (coincidentally a common marching band theme).       

 

I probably have said too much, but when you are talking about Southern Illinois you are usually talking about smaller bands (other than around St. Louis.) and it is time that we look at what a marching band is meant to be. A band that is marching!!!! We have great bands in our region and if you don't believe me get to a competition near you!!!! 

 

Hey, don't get mad about the post just express your opinion. Tell me how wrong I am. I'm just stirring the pot.  

So I have to start by saying that I agree that marching band has taken a tangent from traditional marching and playing. I love the musicality of shows myself and much prefer a group wow me with sound than looks.

 

That being said, I feel like you haven't gone and watched elite BOA bands such as Avon, Broken Arrow, LD Bell, or Marcus, and that's not even scratching the surface. Even non-BOA contendors such as Lassiter and Homestead should be included in this, but I'll stick to recent BOA participants for now. Many of these groups do, in fact, march and play at the same time. The few times that they stand and play are during fairly technical parts that many (not all) students can't play while moving. There are individuals who can play at a high technical level and march simultaneously, but they march in a little thing called DCI. Also, the follow the leader "cop out" is not used as often as you'd like to think. In 4 years at O'Fallon, I can only recall 2 times in any drill that I followed the leader. That encompasses 4 shows from 4 different design teams.

 

I'm going to steer clear of money because that's just a can of worms I hate touching because many "big bands" really aren't as well off as you would think. Yes they get help, but they're not spending millions of dollars or any kind of obscene amount. But just to get my point across, money doesn't buy good musicians and marchers. You can have all the money you want, but without students who know what they're doing, it won't get you anywhere.

 

I will agree with you that small band members can't fake it. Then again neither can BOA band members. Unlike most competitions you'll go to, BOA judges are actually on field watching and listening to the individual player. Yes you can fake it when the judge is in a press box over head, but when he's got his tape in your bell, you won't get away with just moving your fingers. I'll assume that being a Murphysboro parent, you were at Tiger Ambush this weekend just as I was. I didn't have the opportunity to watch the bands until the beginning of 3A, but the majority of issues with people out of step and out of place were in 3A. 4A bands were actually pretty clean. Yes there was the occaisional wrong foot or half beat misstep, but 4A was much more clean and precise than 3A. And the visual aspect doesn't just apply to the feet. More than once I winced as I watched individuals march with their shoulders perpendicular to the sideline and their horn pointed at the ground. Ultimately, the idea that bands are penalized for being small is a cop out in itself. I point to the KMEA circuit in Kentucky. Beechwood is a prime example of an excellent small band.

 

Intonation is an issue with every band! It's week 2 or 3 for some groups, but for others it's week 1 of many. Murphysboro (accoring to the IMO page) is done for the competitive season, but MANY bands still have at least a month, if not more, left this year. I'd reserve the final judgement on a show's musicality, appeal, and overall success until the end of a group's competitive season. I tend to avoid watching most shows until Grand Nationals.

 

Ok... So the comment about slitting wrists is a little overboard. Actually it's way overboard. That's all I'll say about that.

 

Anyways, the musical selections aren't just dark. Yes, many songs in marching shows are dark, but you also have plenty of bright pieces. It's just that darker ensembles tend to have a little more power and really bring out the lower register unlike brighter musical selections. I'm not a music major nor do I pretend to understand music theory at a high level, but from my personal experience, that tends to be the reasoning behind darker selections. Also, in regards to patriotic themes, that's what the summer is for in my opinion. Even then, I'll point you to LD Bell 2010: Honor. I'll inlude the link for the show at the bottom. It's a darker show, but it's patriotic. And I have to apologize for this little bit, but I have yet to see a single show about the Holocaust and the comment is a little more than asinine. It is, again, way overboard. But to get away from that, I personally love rewatching shows, but I don't base it on the theme as much as I do the execution of the music. If the show is musically great, I'll love it. If it's visually great but lacks muscial essence, I'll more than likely look the other way.

 

Unfortunately, the majority of focus on marching bands in Illinois is north of Springfield. There are groups that peak interest such as Alton, Collinsville, Belleville East, Edwardsville, and O'Fallon, but not much else. I personally plan on traveling to Murphysboro for the show next year to broaden my view of bands in the SoIL category, but for now I'm limited on the groups I can speak about. Not an attack on you, but I think your scope may be even more limited and even blinded by pride in your own program. That's not a problem, as everyone has that at some point.

 

That's just my two cents as an outsider looking in! Hope ya don't mind.

 

LD BELL 2010 PARENT PERFORMANC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfJdtOcwDcY

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Love the comments!!!! And I am glad you replied. Just so you know I have had a lot of experience in marching myself (though college) and currently watch and support Murphysboro's Crimson Express, but I have been watching and supporting marching for decades, including some of the great bands you mentioned in person at several events including BOA events.

 

I won't go into detail but I think some of your points confirm my argument! One thing for sure judges dictate the style, music selections, trends and marching more than just a little. When you see most bands, they are a synthesis of judge pleasing by directors that strive for success. It is getting harder and harder to find unique and more often you see well produced shows that meet the judges expectations.  

 

Murphysboro will be in competitions every weekend (I think) through October.

 

Also O'Fallon is a great program!   

 

Again thanks for the comments! 

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Love the comments!!!! And I am glad you replied. Just so you know I have had a lot of experience in marching myself (though college) and currently watch and support Murphysboro's Crimson Express, but I have been watching and supporting marching for decades, including some of the great bands you mentioned in person at several events including BOA events.

 

I won't go into detail but I think some of your points confirm my argument! One thing for sure judges dictate the style, music selections, trends and marching more than just a little. When you see most bands, they are a synthesis of judge pleasing by directors that strive for success. It is getting harder and harder to find unique and more often you see well produced shows that meet the judges expectations.  

 

Murphysboro will be in competitions every weekend (I think) through October.

 

Also O'Fallon is a great program!   

 

Again thanks for the comments! 

If you do not list examples then your argument is non existent especially when you create open-ended statements. Judges definitely do not determine style, music, trends and marching whatsoever. It is the adjudication standards set by the competition. If a competition only rewards for basic requirements or unrealistic standards, then there is nothing band members can ever gain. A band playing for the judges expectations I believe is just another one of the crazy conspiracy theories people like throw around often when they are do not state specific reasons either to not be flamed by everyone that disagrees or they really do not have any evidence to back them up. I am very interested in hearing what your answers are to my statements, since I really do think perspective in any area is all it takes to understand why someone thinks they way they do, but currently you have only given extremely vague answers and statements. Only in Illinois marching band does this conversation consistently occur and that is only because every single band across the state has a completely different understanding of judging and scoring.

 

Bands that I think are rewarded under no pretense because they are fantastic:

 

Marian Catholic

Prospect

Avon, IN

Broken Arrow, OK

Carmel, IN

A larger portion of 5A Texas Bands (i.e. Marcus, Coppell, The Woodlands, Hebron, L.D. Bell, etc.)

Beechwood, KY

Lafayette, LA

Ayala, CA

Lawrence Township, IN

Lake Central, IN

Norwin, PA

O' Fallon Township, IL

Owasso, OK

Vandergrift, TX

Harrison, GA

Kennesaw Mountain, GA

William Mason, OH

Adair County, KY

Bourbon County, KY

North Hardin, KY

Reeths-Puffer, MI

Western, IN

Bellbrook, OH

Western, IN

Greenwood, IN

Center Grove, IN

Tarpon Springs, FL

Seminole, FL

Lassiter, GA

Homestead, IN

Rockford, MI

Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, MI

Jackson Academy, MS (Who has maybe 12 members tops)

 

Should I continue?

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My argument is not in the specific but in the general and grounded in logic. 

 

Facts we must agree on:

1. Bands want to win competitions. 

2. Judges determine the winners, give comments, scoring and placement.

3. Bands make changes based upon input from judges to increase their scores.

 

If judges views are not to guide bands to be better, from their perspective and based on the criteria of the contest, then why are their comments often offered? Or even why are scores given? Or why is placement shared? 

 

If a band ignores judges comments, scoring and placement will they improve for competition?

 

If they listen to the judges comments, scoring and placement and make changes, either between programs or years, are they not changing their programs to meet the judges expectations?

 

Lastly, after every competition or year of competition the director must assess his band's performance based upon scores and comments if they wish to improve their scores. They can ignore them but that would be at their own peril.  As the only input received of value comes from the judges, regarding competitive score, any changes that take place is based upon the judges comments or the directors interpretation of those comments.

 

The result is that over time and sometimes from competition to competition the judges have had a significant impact on what takes place on the field as schools hone their show to gain higher scores from judges.

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My argument is not in the specific but in the general and grounded in logic.

 

Facts we must agree on:

1. Bands want to win competitions.

2. Judges determine the winners, give comments, scoring and placement.

3. Bands make changes based upon input from judges to increase their scores.

 

If judges views are not to guide bands to be better, from their perspective and based on the criteria of the contest, then why are their comments often offered? Or even why are scores given? Or why is placement shared?

 

If a band ignores judges comments, scoring and placement will they improve for competition?

 

If they listen to the judges comments, scoring and placement and make changes, either between programs or years, are they not changing their programs to meet the judges expectations?

 

Lastly, after every competition or year of competition the director must assess his band's performance based upon scores and comments if they wish to improve their scores. They can ignore them but that would be at their own peril. As the only input received of value comes from the judges, regarding competitive score, any changes that take place is based upon the judges comments or the directors interpretation of those comments.

 

The result is that over time and sometimes from competition to competition the judges have had a significant impact on what takes place on the field as schools hone their show to gain higher scores from judges.

I love that we are doing this. I hope so many people read these so we can really get down to what makes a good marching band and what marching band is and is not about.

 

First I will say what I agree with. Some bands want to win competitions, judges do indeed determine winners, give comments and scoring, and yes some bands use the feedback to increase their scores.

 

To the sentence that is underlined and bolded I agree with wholeheartedly. There really is no point, however, the people that argue we should not have scores for anything do not understand the history of civilized society and live an idealistic lifestyle where everyone gets a :) sticker.

 

Now for the rest:

 

The bands that are truly successful are the ones that achieve at a high level and do not give a damn about what score they got or what place they get. In high school and college, I can tell you that having met schools that only watched their scores and "tried" to appeal to the judges, they were not very successful and they were no where near as excited and happy about band as I was. However, this occurs primarily from the top down, so if the director does this and the staff does this, then it will trickle down to the students and resulting to the situation you described. This does not mean then a judge's comments and scores are moot, but a judge's tape is only really useful for gems that you yourself did not know or when there is absolutely no direction in the first place. The very limited times we listened to tapes only confirmed things we knew we were doing well and things we were already working on to fix (with rare instances where we incorporated new ideas from judges who can be described as the best in the field). If a group cannot figure out what needs to be done, then all they resort to is what score did we get this time and what did the judges say now that we will do exactly for the next competition.

 

I was very lucky to have a band director in high school (college currently as well) that knows the path ahead before we even get there. Unfortunately the education field does not have enough of that. To have someone who knew exactly what the judges were going to say immediately after a performance because he was so knowledgeable about, you guessed it, MUSIC, was a privilege that a lot of students do not have. We did not need or care for comments from a judge because we had a director and a staff that already knew what they were looking for and what learning opportunities were there after a performance. In the off chance they didn't, we got someone who did (often more successful and qualified directors and techs).

 

A short blurb from Greg Bimm (who to deny anything he says is naïve since he is a genius) points out the best way then to figure out what needs to be done. He asks his students after every performance what went well and what they can fix. EVERY competition win or lose, grand champion or last place, high score or low score. It doesn't matter what because the score does not matter, what the judges say does not matter. What matters is if the students achieve their own high standards and learn by critical analyzing what they have done and what can be better.

 

Doesn't that mean if we are only looking at scores then we are forgetting that this is for audience enjoyment?

 

Don't the very best bands no matter the music, no matter the amount of props, no matter how crazy the drill is always seem to engage an audience?

 

If every band lucked out and had a band director that understood this, then we would have a million bands that are at the level of Marian Catholic or Avon or Broken Arrow or L.D. Bell. All bands would pick shows that they want to not to appeal to a judge, they would be amazing because they want to, and they would completely enjoy the experience of being with friends achieving the standards they set together. As a future educator, this is what I will constantly press on my students. What they do on their own time is theirs, so if they want to look at scores for hours go ahead (I know I did), but making sure they realize in the end, it is just a set a numbers that will not matter a month from now when you try to explain to your teacher that the paper that you forgot to do should be extended because our band scored an 89 at a marching band competition. They should leave high school remembering that they experienced hard work and dedication that no judge can gauge.

 

If I miss any good points please anyone and everyone join in. :)

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Excellent response! I do hope others give your comments a read! 

 

Keep in mind, my first comments were generally about the frustration of marginal "Big" bands that out score better smaller bands and the challenges of competing for overall champ regardless of class if you are the little guy. 

 

Often times you will see a marginal large band, out score a better than marginal small band.  As Southern Illinois is filled with small bands (outside of the metro east), they have a difficult time competing in some venues because of this.

 

You asked for specific examples. I will give you one that shows judges preferences and a deference to larger bands.

 

The Edwardsville Tiger Classic this year is very typical of marching competitions.  There is a very clear delineation in scoring between the first two classes (small schools) and the last two classes (bigger bands). If you look at annual results for this competition, other than a couple of oddball years, you will see this is a general pattern. I feel a pattern that too often is repeated in band competitions. This year Murphysboro Crimson Express, won their class with a score of 54.35. This was much lower than the worst bands in the larger categories. 

 

Before you ignore the pattern and think, "Well they are just not as good a program or band." Compare that pattern with the Washington Missouri competition earlier this week. The very same band with the very same routine, music and visuals finished 3rd overall with a score of 76.13.

 

This is not a slight to the Edwardsville competition. They have a great competition every year, however you see a pattern of deference in their scoring towards bigger bands.

 

This preference is not just an Edwardsville phenomenon and it is ingrained in marching competitions. This preference is universal in most marching competitions and can most easily be seen and evidenced by the order of competition. Larger bands (regardless of quality) are always later in the competition. The assumption is that the best will be last. That preference is a hard hill for smaller bands to climb and can lead to frustration. Simply put, if you kill a show at noon in most competitions you know you will sit all day to find out you finished tenth overall to some marginal bands that are only perceived as better because of size.

 

I love marching band competitions and have seen hundreds of competitions over the years and have participated in a fair share of them and have found the above to be true. I am not mad or upset, it is just an observation that many in the marching world won't acknowledge.     

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Excellent response! I do hope others give your comments a read! 

 

Keep in mind, my first comments were generally about the frustration of marginal "Big" bands that out score better smaller bands and the challenges of competing for overall champ regardless of class if you are the little guy. 

 

Often times you will see a marginal large band, out score a better than marginal small band.  As Southern Illinois is filled with small bands (outside of the metro east), they have a difficult time competing in some venues because of this.

 

You asked for specific examples. I will give you one that shows judges preferences and a deference to larger bands.

 

The Edwardsville Tiger Classic this year is very typical of marching competitions.  There is a very clear delineation in scoring between the first two classes (small schools) and the last two classes (bigger bands). If you look at annual results for this competition, other than a couple of oddball years, you will see this is a general pattern. I feel a pattern that too often is repeated in band competitions. This year Murphysboro Crimson Express, won their class with a score of 54.35. This was much lower than the worst bands in the larger categories. 

 

Before you ignore the pattern and think, "Well they are just not as good a program or band." Compare that pattern with the Washington Missouri competition earlier this week. The very same band with the very same routine, music and visuals finished 3rd overall with a score of 76.13.

 

This is not a slight to the Edwardsville competition. They have a great competition every year, however you see a pattern of deference in their scoring towards bigger bands.

 

This preference is not just an Edwardsville phenomenon and it is ingrained in marching competitions. This preference is universal in most marching competitions and can most easily be seen and evidenced by the order of competition. Larger bands (regardless of quality) are always later in the competition. The assumption is that the best will be last. That preference is a hard hill for smaller bands to climb and can lead to frustration. Simply put, if you kill a show at noon in most competitions you know you will sit all day to find out you finished tenth overall to some marginal bands that are only perceived as better because of size.

 

I love marching band competitions and have seen hundreds of competitions over the years and have participated in a fair share of them and have found the above to be true. I am not mad or upset, it is just an observation that many in the marching world won't acknowledge.     

 

Oh my god thank you for this. This answers so many questions I have and narrows down the topic (which if it is possible we should move to an individual thread since this is relevant to all). I too think this is a major problem of slotting larger bands near the end of the competition and smaller at the front.

 

I do believe there is a definite truth that scores get higher (in local competitions with average panels) since they are still getting used to adjudication guide. As time progresses, the judges get used to what is rewarded and what is not which is a rotten shame. BOA is a prime example of getting rid of that trope by randomizing the groups completely so you have no idea what sized band is coming on next. I am also sure their is extensive training beforehand for the judges to understand the BOA adjudication manual. The score itself changing per competition I believe is primarily because of Murphysboro is getting better, however, if it was two competitions back to back it could either be the judging panel is not as qualified or the adjudication requirements differ. I also covuld probably infer that the competition at Washington was no where near the competition at Edwardsville. If not any of those then props to Murphysboro, but I have said in the past that comparing scores from competition to competition especially in Illinois and most likely Missouri, is not possible (as evidence from this past weekend between Prospect and Providence).

 

I think a band naturally has lower or higher scores if band size was related mainly because of GE. GE the majority of the time is the bulk of the score and could make or break a band even if they have perfect music and visual scores. There really is a massive difference in impact from 200 versus 150 (prime example of Castle, IN who had this same jump and instantly seeing an improvement in the fullness of sound). This where a "preference" can be made simply because it is easier for a judge to analyze and listen too. This is also debunked by a proper judging panel that is highly trained in the marching and music arts. I think it might have been in 1993 Grand Nationals, but didn't an incredibly large band had a very similar score to a band of less than 40 (it might have been Spring, TX). So I do think it does end up being who does the best that day. ISU 2010 is also a great example. Warren Township with 350 was beaten by Eureka who had maybe 60 in finals. It was a marginal difference but completely justified since they had a better performance. Even further was Lincoln Way West who beat out even more groups than Eureka for a fantastic show with a small band. I can think of countless more examples where size of a band did not matter because it was the students who made up the band that made it better. A small band with talented students can easily beat out a mediocre band with 100s of students given that the competition they go to has high standards and highly qualified judges.

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. I think it might have been in 1993 Grand Nationals, but didn't an incredibly large band had a very similar score to a band of less than 60 (it might have been Spring, TX). 

 

Duncanville and Jackson Academy.  Duncanville marched about 300 kids, Jackson Academy (as they still do) marched about 15-20.  JA finished 8th in Grand National Finals, beating Duncanville, Center Grove, Webster and Northrop.

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Duncanville and Jackson Academy.  Duncanville marched about 300 kids, Jackson Academy (as they still do) marched about 15-20.  JA finished 8th in Grand National Finals, beating Duncanville, Center Grove, Webster and Northrop.

 

Thank you Dan! I knew it was some Texas school though I forgot it was Jackson Academy.  I think that has to have been the biggest upset in BOA history. So many people complained that they had messed up, but the judges were absolutely right.

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Thanks for your comments! Great discussion and information! 

 

I don't disagree at all and I am hopeful that local competitions are looking at improving judges and competition schedule. 

 

Just so you know. I think the Washington Missouri competition was generally better in marching than Edwardsville but lacked in music. That helped Murphysboro in the finals and prelims as the Crimson Express were the second best sounding band of the day. Rolla Missouri knocked it out of the park and would have won Edwardsville out right.

 

You are completely right about the difference in Missouri to Illinois (not in judging but the type of performance). The Missouri bands, with a couple exceptions, was march and play. No props, no deep themes, but solid music and solid marching.

 

I feel that's why Alton finished 5th to Murphysboro's 3rd. Alton's show did not meet the general feel of the overall competition. 

 

Great conversation! 

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While I agree that the size of the band should not matter, please understand that the marching complexities of larger bands far outweigh those for smaller bands.  I do agree that in a larger band an out of step marcher or sour note from a single band member is masked by the greater collective band.  That being said you made one statement in your post above that I'd like to better understand.  You state that Rolla Missouri would have won Edwardsville out right.  Are you saying they would have beaten O'Fallon? 

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While I agree that the size of the band should not matter, please understand that the marching complexities of larger bands far outweigh those for smaller bands.  I do agree that in a larger band an out of step marcher or sour note from a single band member is masked by the greater collective band.  That being said you made one statement in your post above that I'd like to better understand.  You state that Rolla Missouri would have won Edwardsville out right.  Are you saying they would have beaten O'Fallon? 

 

Yes they would have beaten O'Fallon. There sound is bigger (when needed) and fuller, more in tune, the solos were superior, the marching was more complex and I didn't see any flaws. Of course this was from the stands (you can't see everything). Auxiliary hit the mark and percussion was extremely impressive. Best band I have seen all season.

 

That is not taking anything away from O'Fallon. They are a great band.

 

On the other point, the size of the band has nothing to do with complexity. Quality of band has more to with it than size. Not to rehash a prior screed but big bands can more easily hide poor performers, many avoid marching and playing like the plague and they use easy maneuvers. Like (what I call) follow the leader. I used to love following the guy in front of me to my spot when I marched. At the Edwardsville competition 2 bands even use the diamond drill in their programs. Also there is no hiding musicians that don't know their music in small bands. Ten tubas, just get to where you are supposed to be...two tubas, you better hit every note in tune.   

 

This all depends on the band and the quality of the members, director and staff. There are big bands with very complex shows and others do not. The same with small bands.

 

There is a reason why Murphysboro finished 3rd overall in the last competition they were in and beat 15 bands that are bigger. Crimson Express has 43 musicians and week in and week out competes with bands of all size.   

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Only 2 bands from MO that I can remember beating O'Fallon. One is a little band called Blue Springs and the other isn't Rolla. If they don't compete head to head everything else is opinion and not fact. I don't think Rolla is coming to BOA STL are they?

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Only 2 bands from MO that I can remember beating O'Fallon. One is a little band called Blue Springs and the other isn't Rolla. If they don't compete head to head everything else is opinion and not fact. I don't think Rolla is coming to BOA STL are they?

 

After watching video of the group from last year, it probably would have been possible that early in the season. Didn't see any video from late season so I can't tell you there.

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