A local high school marching band placed in the top five at state finals.

The Center Grove High School marching band placed fifth at the Indiana State School Music Association state finals on Saturday. Last year, Center Grove placed eighth.

The Class A band earned a berth to state by placing in the top 10 at regional and semi state competitions. More than 100 bands started the march to state earlier this month. Only 40 — 10 in each class — earned the chance to march at Lucas Oil Stadium for a state title.

The band had their best performance of the year, said Kevin Schuessler, marching band director.

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“I thought that they did extremely well,” he said.

Students knew that fifth place was an honor.

“I believe that it was about what we were expecting,” said Ana Cook, a freshmen mellophone player. “Everything in that moment is so exciting.”

The week before state, the band added to and polished their “Endangered” show, including a three-hour practice the afternoon of state finals.

“The practices were great, we came out and they were prepared to make a difference,” Schuessler said.

That final practice showed the band was ready, said Alex Dixon, a senior drum major.

“I think there was a lot more excitement, people were pumped up and ready to go to Lucas Oil Stadium,” he said.

“It was a stage unlike any other, I think the band could feel that and they brought their best for everyone to see.”

Walking onto the field was nerve wracking, Cook said.

“Once you get out there, it is so amazing,” she said. “It was a lot of fun, a lot of nerves and excitement.

“It is everything you have worked for in the last five to six months.”

The thousands of audience members watching gave the band a boost to have one of their best performances of the season, said Madison Hodges, a junior drum major.

“It felt really good to see all these people watching us and watching the hard work,” she said.

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