Fireworks lit up the early morning skies over the high school Sunday morning to welcome home the 2012 RHS Marching Band from their performance at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, November 10. The band finished in 19th place out of 87 bands. A total of 21 states across our nation were represented in the weekend competition.
Following their performance, RHS band director Brian Phillips only had praise for the kids and their phenomenal performance. BOA Grand National Championships is recognized as the pre-eminent marching band competition in the nation.
A total of 263 musicians make up the RHS marching ensemble and it is one of the largest bands in marching competition. This year’s program, Calls from the Masai Mara, drew upon an African theme representing the harmony and competition for survival among the animal kingdom. The show was custom arranged by Frank Sullivan for the RHS band.
During the preliminary round of competition, Rockford placed 6th overall and 4th in Class AAAA on Friday. This earned them a spot among the top 30 scoring bands that performed in two days of preliminary competition to move to the semi-finals. An additional four band representing the top two placements in their class also moved forward to the semi-finals in order to have the top bands in each class represented.
“People are amazed to learn that we are a “Monday Night” band (referring to the one night a week they practice). Bands that perform at this level of competition practice up to four hours each school day and all day on Saturdays,” said Phillips.
Rockford was one of four bands from Michigan to move on to the semi-finals round along with Jenison, Walled Lake Central, and Plymouth-Canton Educational Park. At this level, each band competed for the coveted 12 spots to move on to the finals competition. RHS finished in 19th place overall, an improvement of three placements over their initial year in national competition in 2011. Plymouth-Canton finished the weekend in 12th place, Jenison in 27th and Walled Lake in 29th. Carmel High School from Carmel, Indiana was awarded the Grand Championship title for 2012.
The marching band will now divide into three concert ensembles to prepare for their busy holiday performances for the community. This Tuesday the brass ensemble will open the festivities at 5:30 pm at Peppler Park for the 7th annual Lighting Ceremony. They will also perform on: November 26 – Cannonsburg Lighting Ceremony, December 1 – Rockford Santa Parade, and the full band will join with RHS choir members for the Christmas Collage Concert on December 13, 14 and 16 in the Rockford High School Auditorium.