Anyone who has been involved in competitive diving, dance or gymnastics knows that being the first performer poses a special challenge.
The judges don’t want to post too high a score, lest any of the following competitors do significantly better. Yet at the same time, they don’t want to shortchange that first performance when it is exemplary.
This was the situation the Greenwood Marching Woodmen faced in the Class B finals of the state marching band finals Nov. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The band had drawn the lead-off spot in its class. To score well, the band would have to perform at an exceptional level.
And that’s exactly what the Greenwood Community High School group did. The band finished first in its division, bringing home a state championship for the 12th time in school history.
But a tradition of excellence is no guarantee of success. Judges don’t look at school history. They look at performance.
And that examination can be minute. Not only are there judges in the stands listening and watching, there are some actually on the field amid the students, recording even the tiniest misstep.
At the state finals level, the quality of the bands is so good and the groups are so evenly matched, that one or two marchers out of step at any point during a performance can be the difference between first and second place.
So Greenwood’s victory clearly was well-earned.
Director John Morse said afterward that the band has improved throughout the season, itself an accomplishment considering that the band won or placed highly in competitions throughout the fall. But the finals performance was the band’s best, the director said.
“That was one of the great things about this band,” Morse said.
And that’s a lesson that all students can carry from Greenwood’s victory. Success at the highest level is not due to an extraordinary, one-time performance. It is built on hours and hours of hard work and a continuing quest for improvement.
The Greenwood Fire Department and Mayor Mark Myers already have given the band a fitting welcome-home celebration. We want to add a hearty well-done. We salute all of the band and guard members, directors and staff, and parents for their hard work and dedication.
As freshman trumpet player Madeline Riley said, “It was the perfect season. Winning was the icing on the cake.”