Sunday, October 29, 2006

Finals night





The Oiler marching band turned in its best performance of the season, and finished sixth in the Michigan Competing Bands Association Flight III finals at Ford Field in Detroit.




Under the shadowless television lights in the world-class football stadium, the 80 kids from mid-Michigan performed tightly, smoothly, confidently. It was the final performance of "Elemental Led: The Music of Led Zeppelin."
The judges' take: 72.35, the highest score the Oilers have received in years.
That beat the earlier score at the West Bloomfield Invitational - where they won - of 72.05. Second-highest during the season was at Durand, 71.525
Just to be there was a major accomplishment. The highly nontraditional show Mount Pleasant presented was just plain fun to watch, and the kids just loved to put it on.
The top shows were traditional, modern marching band shows, heavy on visual effects and challenging modern-composer music. All of the top bands are huge operations with big budgets and large numbers of students. Lakeshore, for example, has 190 kids involved.
Personally, I liked the Lakeshore show better than Ferndale's, but my take doesn't count.
Before heading to Detroit, the Mount Pleasant band put on a final rehearsal/community show at Community Memorial Stadium. The wind was fierce, gusting about 26 mph. The temperature was about 40.



Still, about 500 people came out to see the band and see the show. One older woman made the comment, "I wanted to see the band play music they liked, instead of the funeral dirges they made us play when I was in school."
These guys loved it.
There was a sense of disappointment at where Mount Pleasant finished - after all, they'd gone into the finals ranked No. 4. But this was territory they'd never been in before.
All told, it was a remarkable story. I don't know the back story, but it's clear there is one. Mount Pleasant won the state finals in 2000. The current band director started in 2002, and I remember getting telephone calls at the Herald from parents who seemed relieved the old director was gone.
This band is purely Matt Taton's. There is a handful of seniors who came up as eighth-graders in 2002. These guys are young, and they've seen what it takes.
On the way home, driving through the night on I-96 and U.S. 127, a Lansing classic rock station played a set of "Kashmir," "Good Times, Bad Times," "Communication Breakdown" and "Tangerine."
When the band buses pulled into Mount Pleasant High School at 1:45 a.m. - and the time change had kicked in, so it felt like 2:45 - the kids were wiped out, but pleased.
They'll be back.

Here are the final scores from the Michigan Competing Bands Assocation Flight III Finals at Ford Field, Oct. 28, 2006:

1. Ferndale ..................................81.80
2. Stevensville Lakeshore ........80.80
3. Farmington Hills Harrison..75.80
4. Redford Thurston................. 75.55
5. Allegan.....................................72.8
6. Mount Pleasant......................72.35
7. Trenton....................................71.4
8. Comstock Park.......................68.4
9. Marysville...............................67.0
10. Fruitport................................66.1

One bragging point: The Fruitport football team beat Mount Pleasant Friday night in the first round of the state playoffs. Band members now can say, "Nyah! The band beat Fruitport!"

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Great!