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Saturday, October 20th - Illinois State University

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Given how big this show is, I figured it warranted it's own thread. I'll do a separate one for U of I, and then one for the other shows (posted probably Wednesday).


ISU is the largest prelims/finals format show in the state. Hosted in Hancock stadium, ISU has 42 bands in prelims. Awards ceremonies are held after every two classes. Assuming finals format remains the same as in recent years, 14 bands will perform in finals- 7 bands are selected from 1A-4A and 7 bands from 5A-6A. Class champions receive an automatic bid into finals, and then bands are taken by order of highest scores to fill out the remaining spots in each grouping. Finals were cancelled last year due to weather.


Class 1A:

Eureka has won this class for the last several years and is my pick to repeat again this year.  I’m struggling with predicting the other placements in this class. University has been having a strong year. Herscher won this class in 2015. IVC and Macomb are both programs with rich histories and scored near each other at Limestone. Mater Dei has not attended ISU since 2004 when they placed 2nd in Class A. Olympia is also in this class and has strong showings at their shows this year. Going mainly on my gut and not much else, I’ll go with University in 2nd, Herscher in 3rd.


Class 2A

This class has gone to Morton every year since 2005, and I predict they win the class again. Limestone has been in finals twice in the last five years and is my pick for 2nd place. In third place, my pick is Providence Catholic. Lincoln Community was last at ISU in 2015 when they placed 3rd. Metamora was a finalist at ISU in the early 80s. Also in the class are the Marching Indians from Marengo.


Class 3A

There is perhaps no program more storied than Marian Catholic. Marian has won their class every year since 1980 and won finals since 2009. Bloomington was 2nd in this class last year and looks to repeat that placement again this year. Dunlap has moved up a class this year, but could definitely place 3rd in this class like they did when they were in 2A. Lemont (2016), United Township (2010) and Danville (1990) are all previous finalists competing in this class. Kaneland is also competing in this class.


Class 4A

This class looks to be very close between John Hersey and Rock Island. If I had to go with one I’ll choose John Hersey based on their past success in this class for the last two years. Batavia and Elk Grove are going to be looking at the number 3 spot in this class. Argo and Brother Rice/Mother McAuley are the performing in this class as well.


Class 5A

Every band in class 5A has made finals before- all except one in the last 5 years. Having already won a BOA regional this year, and returning after having the highest 5A/6A prelims score last year, O’Fallon is my prediction to win 5A. Prospect and VJA were in 2nd and 3rd here last year. I think they are in those slots again this year and close in scores. Edwardsville and Wheaton North are also in this class.


Class 6A

Class 6A includes three school district based marching bands- Rockford, Normal and Lincoln- Way. Kicking of Class A is the Huntley High School Marching Red Raiders. Huntley is followed by 2016 finalist, Naperville Central. After the break is William Howard Taft who is fairly new to the competitive marching band scene. Joliet West presents their show “without WORDS” in class 6A as well. Lockport is one of only a few Illinois bands to have made semi-finals at Grand Nationals in the last few years, and are a major contender in this class. Normal West and Normal Community combined marching bands this season. Both bands have individually made finals before, and as a combined band are definitely part of the conversation here. Downers Grove South is no stranger to finals, having made it 5 times since 2010. Coming off of their second place finish at DGS this weekend, Lake Park is poised to do very well. The returning class winner, the combined Lincoln-Way band is my prediction to win Class 6A.



It’s particularly tough to pick finals at ISU this year. I will say that I think O’Fallon, Marian, and Lincoln-Way are top 3. O’Fallon was 14th last year at Grand Nationals and is my pick to win finals at ISU (a first for them), as they continue the momentum into November. I think this will be a particularly strong group of finalists this year and potentially a few first-time finalists.

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Looks like this would have been a good year for Warren Township. Anyhow, my pics would be:



I'll go with Eureka, but really, IVC, Macomb, and U-High could all be the one to win. I feel like Mater Dei is a little weaker this year.


Morton followed by Limestone and probably Metamora.


Marian Catholic with Bloomington in second after a really strong show at DGS. Either Dunlap, Lemont, or UT next, I really couldn't guess.


John Hersey hasn't been to a competition in a number of weeks. I'll still go with them, but Rock Island and Batavia may not be far behind. Elk Grove could slip in there too.


O'Fallon looks to win again followed by Prospect. Any one of the others could take third.


It's really hard to say for sure, but I'll pick Lincoln-Way with Lockport right behind them. It's probably between Lake Park and Normal for third.



It'll be between Marian Catholic and O'Fallon for first, with Lincoln-Way and Lockport not too far behind. I'm going with O'Fallon for a first time win.

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Thanks, I'll be picking:


Eureka for the win, but Macomb will be close behind. This will overall be a close division, but I like Eureka this year.


Morton again, followed by Lincoln Community (I don't know many of the bands well in this division)


Marian Catholic is the favorite, but expect Dunlap and Bloomington (really showed up at DGS) to fight it out for 2nd.


Elk Grove has done a great job this year, and expect them and John Hershey to go at it for 1st. Batavia will follow in 3rd I presume. I didn't really like Rock Island's show this year.


O'fallon will dominate this division. I like Plainfield North's show this year (those lights are dope), but I think it will be close for 2nd with Victor J, while Prospect isn't as good this year (lost to Lockport and Licoln-Way while narrowly defeating Warren Township)


Lincoln-Way will take it with a repeat of last year followed by Lockport and Lake Park (who would have scored better in Prelims at DGS had they not had issues with their sound system).


Again, this is going to be an awesome competition! (expect Lincoln-Way to upset with Grand Champ though).

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Limestone Community

Providence Catholic


Marian Catholic




John Hersey 


Rock Island

Finalists: Eureka, Morton, Marian Catholic, John Hersey, Limestone Community, Bloomington, Rock Island


O'Fallon Township


Victor J Andrew


Lincolnway Community

Lockport Township

Lake Park

Finalists: O'Fallon Township, Lincolnway Community, Lockport Township, Prospect, Victor J Andrew, Plainfield North, Lake Park


1. O'Fallon Township

2. Marian Catholic

3. Lincolnway Community 

4. Lockport Township 

5. Prospect

6. Victor J Andrew

7. Morton

8.  Plainfield North

9. Lake Park

10. John Hersey

11. Limestone Community

12. Bloomington

13. Rock Island

14. Eureka

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From the ILMarching social media pages: 


ISU 1A-2A Results:


1) University (GE)

2) Eureka 3) IVC (Crowd/Visual)

Music: Macomb



1) Morton (Music, Visual, GE)

2) Limestone Community

3) Metamora

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1. Marian Catholic (Music, GE)

2. Bloomington (Visual)

3. Dunlap

Kaneland (Crowd)


1. John Hersey (Crowd, Music, GE)

2. Rock Island

3. Elk Grove (Visual)

Finalists: U-High, Morton, Marian Catholic, John Hersey, Dunlap, Rock Island, Elk Grove


Bloomington not in finals? Also, looks like we have 4 first time finalists so far.

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1. O'Fallon (Crowd, Music, GE, Visual)

2. Prospect

3. Edwardsville


1. Lincoln-Way (Crowd, Music, Visual)

2. Lockport (GE)

3. Lake Park

Finalists: O'Fallon, Lincoln-Way, Lockport, Downers Grove South, Joliet West, Prospect, Lake Park

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Finals performance order:

7:30 - U-High

7:44 - Rock Island

7:58 - John Hersey

8:12 - Dunlap

8:26 - Elk Grove

8:40 - Downers Grove South

8:54 - Prospect

9:08 - Joliet West

9:22 - BREAK

9:36 - Marian Catholic

9:50 - Lockport

10:04 - Bloomington

10:18 - Morton

10:32 - Lincoln-Way

10:46 - Lake Park

11:00 - O'Fallon

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Yeah, it's definitely too bad Lincoln-Way isn't going this year. There were one or two placements I personally would have switched while watching finals, but the scores on those were so close that at least I wasn't entirely wrong lol.

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Hi! I’d like to know what you guys think about ISU this year. Are you surprised by the results? Were they expected? And what about the bands that made finals? Just curious to know other’s opinions! 😃 

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Here are a few reflections/observations. None of this is a criticism of the judging or the bands, just some interesting bits based on the numbers.

1) Morton scored higher than Marian in prelims by 0.1 then in Finals they were almost 6 points apart with Marian on top. Certainly, the focus and numbers management of judging prelims vs. finals is different but very interesting.

2) In prelims, Dunlap had a higher Vis. GE score than Marian and Bloomington. Very different in finals.

3) Elk Grove was the "8th Finalist" from 1-4A, the then scored higher than Rock Island and Dunlap in Finals.

4) One penalty was awarded in finals, although it made no difference in placements.

5) In both prelims and finals, O'Fallon and Lincoln-Way were less than a point apart.


Other thoughts:

Cool to see so many first time Finalists.

Shout out to University who marched prelims at ISU, then headed to U of I, then headed back to ISU for Finals. 3 performances in one day! I know Morton has done that before.

Also, wind.

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