I’m with the Band

The Bands of America Grand National Championships parade into Lucas Oil Stadium November 11–14. But for the kids at perennial powerhouses Avon High School, Ben Davis High School, and Carmel High School—who have won five times between them—the march began months ago.
Justin Borneo

Justin Borneo
Bass Drum, Ben Davis High School
“I was in drumline before marching band, so I’ve experienced a few competitions. To be honest, I was really scared my first time on the field. I thought, Oh my God. There are so many people watching this. There may have been a few slip-ups, but overall it was an amazing experience.”

Tuba Player

Ashley Shane
Tuba, Ben Davis High School
“I went to an IPS school, and they start you in band really early there. You learn on a little recorder, but I was, like, super good at it. So they kept moving me up. When I arrived here, I saw the variety of instruments, and I started just picking them up—clarinet, flute, saxophone. Then I spotted the tubas and learned that there were no girls playing them. I thought, I want to do that. And now I play the tuba.”

Rifle ThrowerLeah Patton
Guard, Carmel High School
“I did JV Guard as an eighth grader and just fell in love with it. And when you’re going to a school as big as Carmel, it helps with meeting people. This year, we have 70 girls, and since we all practice together over the summer, I went into the high school with 70 friends. When it comes to the rifle toss or anything else, we are really heavy on technique, technique, technique. I think that’s what makes us so good. We start with the basics and really pound them.”

OakleyOakley Blake
Flute, Carmel High School
“I used to watch the marching bands at the Macy’s parade on TV. That’s what made me want to join. But it’s a huge commitment. On the weekends, my friends will be like, ‘Hey, you want to go do something?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I can’t. I’ve got rehearsal all day Saturday.’ If you’ve ever been to one of these competitions, I think you can see how hard we work.”

Katherine Wishart
Guard, Ben Davis High School
“It’s a way for me to show a different side of myself. In school, I’m really quiet. But in guard, I feel like it’s acceptable to growl at people or scream or be these weird characters we are in the show. It has really helped me find who I am.”

Avon kidNolan Crist
Baritone Saxophone, Avon High School
“At the awards, I’m looking forward to breaking ranks at the end when we all get to mingle with the other bands. Everybody trades little pieces of their uniforms. Some people get crazy and even trade their plumes. We’re not supposed to, but we all do it anyway because things like that are just cool to have.”

DrummerKryster Ficher
Drumline, Avon High School
“It’s funny to hear what people say about us sometimes, especially the drummers. Like, ‘Oh, that’s the drug scene’ or ‘They’re lazy.’ But that’s definitely not the case. I’m wearing 50-pound drums and running all over the field.”

Clarinet playerCaden Potter
Clarinet, Avon High School
“I was terrible my freshman year, but over time, band has just kind of grown on me. I’m taking a music theory class along with the concert band. So I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do out of high school. But somewhere down the line, I definitely want to do something with music.

Tuba LineTuba Line
Carmel High School
After a long summer of practice, the horn players suited up for their first competition this fall at Fishers High School.


More: Marching Bands Bonus Gallery