Rockford named No. 1 in marching at state finals

The Rockford High School (RHS) marching band earned top honors for marching in Flight I competition at the Michigan Competing Band Association (MCBA) state finals held at Ford Field on Saturday, Nov. 6. Overall, the band earned third place with a score of 86.18 out of 11 bands competing in their flight. Walled Lake Central earned first with a score of 88.45, followed by Plymouth-Canton with 87.12.

“We had an unbelievable performance! The students did a wonderful job and we had a clean, focused show,” said RHS band director, Brian Phillips. “Flight I is the most competitive flight at state finals, with each competing band presenting a solid performance.”

In Flight I, the span between the top five bands was just over three points, with the average span for the other flights at seven points.

Since joining the MCBA in 2005, RHS has qualified for state finals every year and has moved up in rank from seventh place the first year to third in 2009 and 2010.

“We have proved that our third-place finish last year was not a fluke. Rockford is someone to contend with in the years ahead!” added seniors Andrew Christianson and Alex Quinn.

Rockford’s marching program is unique compared to the bands they face at state finals.

“For many of the schools, band is an extracurricular program. Students try out for a spot in the ensemble and they rehearse several hours a day. For our program, all kids who desire to be in band are part of the program. We meet for one class hour a day and typically rehearse just one evening a week, which is about three times less than our competitors,” according to Phillips.

The biggest point of pride for Phillips is how the students rehearse. “The students are prepared and rehearse in an efficient manner,” explained Phillips. “The show constantly evolves and each member has a desire for growth that brings a level of sophistication to our ensemble.”

And that is not an easy task with over 200 teenagers in the program this year to keep organized and focused.

Looking ahead, Phillips sees only an “exciting and bright future” for the marching band.

The band now moves into concert season with the wind ensemble’s brass section performing at the annual lighting ceremony in downtown Rockford’s Peppler Park on Wednesday, Nov. 17, and at the Cannonsburg Christmas celebration on Monday, Nov. 29.

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