By Mark Tague
With only nine and a half minutes to impress the judges, the Carmel High School Marching Band broke a decade-plus long spell with an ISSMA state championship on Nov. 3.
Carmel took home the state title for marching band for class A. The honor comes on the heels of hard work and hours of dedication before and after school, especially for drum major and senior Carrie Pawlovich.
“We did a ton of preparation,” she said. “We did our usual practice time last week, but on Friday, we went (30 minutes longer). You’d be amazed how much we can get done.”
Despite the long hours, the satisfaction of winning the title last week was enough for Pawlovich to keep working hard with marching band. On the day of the competition, which took place at Lucas Oil Stadium and pitted Carmel against nine area schools, the Greyhounds were the last to take the field.
“It was a very exhilarating moment,” Pawlovich said. A lot of the students were holding hands, and it came to the runner up. I will admit I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest because I was so nervous, but I felt that Homestead had no change against us.”
She was correct – Homestead High School finished behind Carmel in the second spot.
With the 11-year record being broken, Chris Kerke, the associate director of bands at Carmel as well as a director of the marching band, was more than happy to see Carmel renew its championship record.
“I thought it was incredible and really the performance was the cool part,” Kerke said. “The winning and the trophies always gets taken care of when we get a great performance from the kids. When they really work and have a performance they felt great about coming off the field, that was the win right there.”
In tradition with the ISSMA competition, the winning set of drum majors drank milk during the celebratory picture with their sponsors. For dismissal, they departed the teams in reverse order of their ranking, making Carmel the last to get off of the field.
“We all marched off of the field and I have never seen a group of kids so happy that they were hugging and crying with each other,” Pawlovich said.
Carmel competes in the Bands of America competition tonight, also at Lucas Oil Stadium.