By Hendrix Magley
On a bright Saturday morning at the Indiana State Fair, fans from schools in every corner of Indiana came to show their support for their marching bands.
But as soon as the Noblesville High School Marching Millers took the stage, dozens of spectators began waving flowers in the air.
Two were dedicated band parents Brian and Shellie Hunter. They sat in the stands decked out in their matching green Noblesville “Growing Crazy” T-shirts, with flowers in hand to match the band’s theme.
They screamed loud and proud for their two sons, Garrett, a junior trumpet player and Conner, a freshman xylophonist.
When they are not in the stands to cheer on their sons, they are helping out the band in other ways. Mom Shellie helped to make this year’s costumes.
But the family never misses a competition, usually bringing along some extra members as well.
“Today we brought along my parents. Last week at Noblesville it was my wife’s parents,” Brian said. “We try to bring as many family members as we can.”
The Hunters said they enjoy band competitions because everybody gets along and it is a very sociable experience.
“The social aspect of band competitions is something else,” Brian said. “Kids from different schools get along very well with each other, and everyone is always very friendly and kind. It’s a competition, but it’s a friendly competition.”
Noblesville band director Eric Thornbury got a little emotional describing how close the band members are to one another.
“I’m getting choked up just talking about it,” Thornbury said. “We always watch each other’s backs, and we’re always there for one another no matter what.”
The Marching Millers are a family, and a very large one at that. According to an official list provided by the Indiana State Fair, the Millers were the third largest group o the day with 86 members.
“The band doesn’t call themselves a team,” Brian said. “They call themselves a family.”
Hendrix Magley is a writer for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a group of 30 students telling Indiana’s stories from a trailer somewhere between the cheese sculpture and the state’s biggest sow. This Ball State University immersive-learning project works for elephant ears.