IHSA to survey schools in November over Marching Band and Show Choir
Filed under: — Dan Balash @ 7:09 pm

Breaking news from our sponsors at Voxitatis:

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) will survey its approximately 800 member schools in November to determine how many have a marching band program and might participate in a state championship series for the activity, the IHSA’s assistant executive director, Matt Troha, told Voxitatis in an email on July 30.

The survey will also ask about competitive show choir, and the IHSA executive board will discuss the possibility of developing a state championship series if at least 10 percent of the association’s member schools would participate, Mr. Troha said. That’s about 70 or 80 schools.

If the results of the IHSA’s survey meet their criteria, an actual state championship would still be one or two years away, Mr. Troha said.

According to IHSA’s website, there are 794 member schools, so 80 schools would have to approve either state series or both. In the ILmarching database, there are 231 schools, 206 of which competed at least one time in the 2011-2012 school year. We recognize the fact that some of these schools would have no interest in a state marching band system, but I think enough would be interested in this for it to pass.

Assuming that the high schools ratify a marching band state series, how does Illinois go about setting this up?  What do we need?

  • The ability to come up with a scoring system that all can agree upon.  Does each class advance on to the next round of a state system with different totals to advance?
  • A schedule that will not interfere with other events (collegiate testing, Bands of America events, and the like)
  • Figuring out how to classify schools/how many classes will there be? Does the IHSA multiplier come into effect?
  • How do you accommodate different types of marching, such as show-style?
  • Adequate locations for whatever leadup to state championships there may be.


Here’s how Indiana does it, and this is my favorite example:

  • 4 classes, based on school size (Class A: 1812+, Class B 961-1811, Class C 551-960, Class D: 0-550.)
  • Districts start out at 7 sites around the state (with all 4 classes), then regionals (2 classes at each (north/south), 4 sites) 2 weeks later, then semi-states (20 bands per class, 4 sites, 1 class a site, all around Indianapolis), and state finals (40 bands, 4 classes, each class names a state champion).
  • Bands must achieve a set score to advance from regionals to districts (52.00 in Class D, 54 in Class C, 60 in B and A.)  At regionals, the top 10 scoring bands in each class advance on to semi-state.  Semi-state consists of 20 bands in each class, and the top 10 (plus ties) advance on to state finals.


Here’s what I would like to see:

  • Bands scored on the Bands of America scoring system or something very similar.
  • A 4 class system utilized that’s fairly balanced out assuming every competing band in our database would wish to participate in this, which is highly unlikely.  Here’s my setup: Class D: 0-500, Class C: 501-1,000, Class B: 1,001-~1900, Class A: 1901+
  • No utilization of IHSA multiplier of 1.65 for private schools.  Or, if this is used, permit it to be removed if a private school does not advance from the first step in a state system within the last 3 years.
  • A 3 or 4 week system that permits bands to compete at other local festivals and Bands of America events as well.  Districts: Week 3 of September, Regionals: Week 1 of October, Semistate: Week 2, week off for BOA events/heighten the suspense for State finals at one of the major universities (U of I, NIU, ISU.)  Semi-state may not be possible due to the sheer size of Illinois.  I don’t want O’Fallon/Warren Township to have to meet up in a central location more than once a season due to travel.
  • Advancement from Districts onward similar to Indiana.
  • Availability of  good sized stadiums around the state.  Prefer good seating for ~20 bands at each district, ~30 at each regional, 20 at each semi-state, 40 at state finals.
  • Maybe rotate state finals between NIU/ISU/EIU/U of I depending on football schedules?


We want your input on this.  Illinois Marching Online and Voxitatis have paired up to do a survey of the fans, students, parents, judges and educators in Illinois.  We ask you to fill out this simple survey here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/vox_ilm_interest_survey  We thank you for your participation.


Many thanks to Paul Katula for alerting us to this information. 

Dan Balash is the owner of Illinois Marching Online.  His opinions are not meant to be those of any high school in the state or those of ILmarching.com

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