Charlie leads band to State
The audience roars in applause as the Marching Woodmen are ranked first in the State; tears stain their cheeks, smiles spread wide across their faces and their eyes light up as they hug each other, overjoyed by the news.
This year’s marching band show was titled “Charlie” and was based on Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times. During the show, students had freeform character moments in which they acted like Chaplin.
“It was interesting because it wasn’t your typical marching band show,” senior Courtney Conway, soloist, said. “I was in two different characters all the time: I was either the Chaplin character, which meant I was being goofy and doing something out of the ordinary, or I was a marcher where I was serious and composed.”
This year’s show had a more playful tone.
“Last year’s show was very revengeful, and we were mainly trying to get back to State,” senior Lexi Cunningham, guard member, said. “This year was a very goofy show, and I could express a lot of emotions; I had fun doing the show both at practice and at competitions. I just wanted to make this year about having fun. I wanted to teach the guard to be the best they can be and to never feel like they’re not worth anything. This show teaches you to have fun doing the hardest things and that you accomplish great things from that.”
As the season progressed, the show became more popular with students and fans.
“When the show was first explained to us, I wasn’t really sure about it,” senior Madelen Tevalan-Cruz, center drum major, said. “But once we started competing, I had this feeling that this year was going to be our year. Whoever I talked to, everyone was like ‘This is the show—this is the show that is going to win.”
The Marching Woodmen have many traditions they follow which are believed to have originated in the 1970s.
“None of us as upperclassmen had won yet so we all had that motivating and pushing us,” Conway said. “I think the traditions that help the most are the senior speeches– those that give positive words help a lot. For my section, I tried to give them encouraging speeches as much as I could; I told them old stories about my memories and what’s happened in my time as a Greenwood Marching Woodman, so that they can learn from it. Relaying experiences that the upperclassmen have had helps them understand and gives them motivation to feel confident and have their best performance.”
Marchers set goals for themselves going into State finals.
“I think there is a difference between a goal and a priority,” senior Rowen Garza,
Chaplin character, said. “My goal was to win, and my priority was to enjoy my last year. The band is a big family. We all had a common idea and made it a priority to come together, and we did do that. We accomplished our goal, which was to be one of the best senior classes we’ve had, and I think we did that.”
With live performance, no two runs will be performed the same. Each run comes with its own ups and downs. Tevalan was able to tell immediately that the State run was great.
“State finals: that run was really amazing,” Tevalan-Cruz said. “I got off my podium, and I was like, ‘That was the one. That’s it. That’s what I was working so hard this whole season for.’ I got off feeling so happy and confident with how everything worked out. Of course, it wasn’t a perfect run, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better to conduct my last run.”
As Tevalan said, the State performance was powerful.
“The band’s performance at State was incredible, which on its own was a great feeling. But then to be recognized for your students doing such a great job is incredible,” Mr. John Morse, director, said. “This one hit me different than the other wins. I had a good feeling about this one after the students performed it. I wasn’t as nervous as I normally am. In some of our previous State championships, the students have put on great performances, but I was more of a nervous wreck afterwards. This year I was not as much. I think it was such a commanding performance that I didn’t know, but maybe I knew.”
After each band has performed at State finals, the bands line up on the field and wait for their placement to be announced.
“When we were at awards, we were telling the underclassmen, ‘Okay, if we win, you have to be quiet and not yell,” Garza said. “Then as soon as we found out, I screamed. It was insane. I’ve never felt that way before. At first, I didn’t know how to feel; it was kind of a shock. But it was indescribable—an incredible feeling.”
As soon as Greenfield Central was announced as runner-up, the Marching Woodmen knew that they had won State.
“I knew right away once they announced Greenfield as second place that we won,” Tevalan-Cruz said. “I just opened my mouth, slowly clapped and tears started streaming down my face. It felt surreal, and I didn’t want to believe it. I was very happy, but I was like, ‘Wow, finally after four years.’ We accomplished something so big, and it was great to be recognized for it. It was a great honor to be up there and represent Greenwood.”
Freshman Glaiza Liwanag did not understand at first that GHS had won.
“It was very exciting,” Liwanag said. “It took me awhile to realize that we won until the people around me started screaming and crying. I was going to ask them what was wrong, and then I realized that we won. I was really proud of us, and I was happy for the seniors because I knew how badly they wanted to win.”
This year’s band was undefeated, something Mr. Morse had not yet experienced in his career.
“The band was undefeated,” he said. “All of the competitions we went to we placed first. I think that’s the first time in my career that I’ve experienced that; it didn’t really occur to me until we go to the end of the season. I think that’s a testament to the students and their level of preparation for each weekend.”
In addition to winning ISSMA Class B State competition, the band also made school history in Bands of America, winning first place in Class AA and moving on in the second day of competition to perform in exhibition at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Bands of America is a National circuit, so we not only perform with bands in our state, but bands from other states as well,” Mr. Morse said. “At our Regional, there were bands from Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Ohio and lots of other places. At BOA, although it’s subdivided into classes, everyone competes against each other. So schools of varying sizes compete against one another. At the end of the day, it’s neat to be recognized at a venue like that; winning a class championship is a first for our school and was a huge accomplishment in general.”
For seniors, State was their last performance with the Marching Woodmen.
“I’m going to miss the hassle, the everyday monotony and nonsense of trying to get something impossible to be possible,” Garza said. “When I look back on it, it was the best part — just being able to do what you love every day. Now, it’s just over, which is crazy.”