The Marching Trojans of Center Grove High School are headed to the state championship.

Three local marching bands competed this weekend hoping to make it to the state finals. Greenwood and Whiteland marching bands didn’t advance to Lucas Oil Stadium, despite their directors calling their semi-state performances the best of the year.

Center Grove High School earned a berth to the Indiana State School Music Association state finals with their performance in Class A at Ben Davis High School on Saturday. The band will be looking ahead to its performance with practices this week and special events, band director Kevin Schuessler said.

Franklin and Indian Creek performed at the Scholastic ISSMA state finals, with Indian Creek placing fifth in Scholastic Class B. Franklin’s marching band did not place in the top five for Scholastic Class A.

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The Whiteland band was honored to advance to semi-state in the largest enrollment class, despite not earning a place in the state finals, director Pete Sampson said.

“We had an excellent performance, the best performance of the year,” he said.

For the first time in 33 years, the Greenwood Marching Woodmen and Irish Guard won’t be vying for a Class B state title after its semi-state performance didn’t earn a high enough score to advance.

The band has earned championships at state 13 times and placed in the top five at state countless times. The performers were the runner-ups last year, earning second at state.

But the band gave its best performance of the year too, including marching better than they did at regional competition, where they also scooped up extra awards for their performance there, said John Morse, Greenwood’s director.

“Everything we could control, we controlled,” he said.

Students handled the surprise disappointment gracefully in the minutes and hours after the news that the season was over, Morse said.

“It was certainly a disappointment for us and the kids,” he said. “The kids were really supportive of each other.”

Older students approached Morse after the news and asked if they could keep the tradition of serenading band directors at dawn on Sunday and having a pre-state party later in the week.

Morse agreed to both and he and other directors were awoken to the annual band serenade the day after semi state. And the band will have a party to celebrate the season on the day that would have been their pre-state party.

“Those were all things they really wanted to do,” he said.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.