For months, they have worked toward making it to a competition this weekend.

Color guards from area high schools have polished their dancing and moves since around December. Show choirs have mastered their singing and dancing routines. And vocal and instrumental jazz musicians have polished the songs they will compete with.

Being named the best in the state is at stake for some of the groups.

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This weekend, dozens of students from four local high schools will compete for state championships in vocal and instrumental jazz, show choir and color guard.

Students from Whiteland Community High School will play in instrumental jazz state competitions, sing in vocal jazz competitions and sing and dance in show choir state competitions. Greenwood students will flip flags and dance in guard competitions and compete in vocal jazz. Franklin Community High School students will compete in show choir. Center Grove students are both hosting and competing in color guard.

Whiteland students have made it to the state event in the instrumental jazz competition for the first time in the competition’s three-year history, said Pete Sampson, band director at Whiteland Community High School.

Jazz groups had to score in the top eight across the state to qualify for the state event, Sampson said. Making it to the event is the accomplishment, and none of the groups will be named the champs. The instrumental jazz musicians will instead participate in a festival-like event, and the jazz groups will not be ranked, although some may earn special awards.

Participation and offerings in jazz at Whiteland have been increased in the past few years, as learning jazz helps students musicians in a variety of ways, such as improvisation and learning more about music, since students are playing more individual types of music in jazz pieces, Sampson said.

“It also enhances the kid’s ability to understand how music functions,” he said.

Franklin Community High School’s relatively new show choir, “Sensations,” will vie for a state championship during the second year it has been a competing choir. The choir joins a second choir from Franklin, “Heritage Singers,” and two choirs from Whiteland, “Expressions” and “Rhythm Masters,” in competing for the Indiana State School Music Association show choir state championship.

All the choirs have spent their competition seasons snagging top finishes, including several grand champion placings for most of the county choirs competing at state this weekend. Whiteland choirs compete in the large school finals, with Franklin competing in the small school finals.

Color guards from Center Grove and Greenwood will vie for a state championship at Center Grove in the Indiana High School Color Guard Association state finals on Saturday.

Winter color guards typically begin working on their winter shows in December, just a week or two after the marching band state finals, said John Morse, band director at Greenwood Community High School.

They spend their weekends competing all winter, and performance has led up to this weekend, he said.

“They really worked all season in preparation for this,” Morse said.

Their goal is to make sure that they are ready and that their best performance is in the competition for a state competition, he said.

“The goal is to give the best performance they can. The rest is out of their hands,” Morse said.

If you go

Dozens of students from four local high schools will be competing at state this weekend in color guard, instrumental and vocal jazz and show choirs.

Here is a look at where and when to catch county schools competing:

Instrumental Jazz

Who: Whiteland Community High School

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: North Central High School, 1801 E. 86th St., Indianapolis.

Vocal Jazz

Who: Whiteland Community and Greenwood Community high schools

When: Whiteland at 7 p.m. and Greenwood at 8:10 p.m. Friday

Where: Franklin Central High School, 6215 S. Franklin Road, Indianapolis

Small school show choir

Who: Franklin Community High School choirs

When: Sensations at 1 p.m. and Heritage Singers at 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Franklin Central High School, 6215 S. Franklin Road, Indianapolis

Large school show choirs

Who: Whiteland Community High School choirs

When: Expressions at 1:15 p.m. and Rhythm Masters at 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: North Central High School, 1801 E. 86th St., Indianapolis.

Color guard

Who: Center Grove High School and Greenwood Community High School

When: Greenwood at 5:22 p.m; Center Grove at 6:40 p.m. Saturday

Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood

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