Students, parents, others respond about an IL state marching band championship

Continuing with our analysis of responses to the Illinois Marching Online-Voxitatis poll regarding the possibility of the Illinois High School Association developing a state championship series in marching band, we now consider responses from people who did not identify themselves as a director. This group includes students, band parents, fans in general, the media, and possibly other classes of people.

The total number of responses received in this category was 28, 18 of whom said they were current or former students who participated in a high school marching band in Illinois.

The results are not statistically significant, and no conclusion should be drawn from this portion of our poll. We report percentages along with absolute numbers but make no representation that these results reflect any population within Illinois.

Do you think your school would participate in an IHSA-sponsored championship?

We received 21 “yes” responses (78%), four “no” responses (15%), and two “maybe” responses (7%). In response to the question of why they answered as they did, these are the responses received:

There has been increasing interest in marching band not only at our school but others in recent years. If the IHSA can sanction solo and ensemble competition as well as music sweepstakes in the late winter-early spring, why NOT marching band in the fall?

Our band is constantly looking for places to perform! Although, I don’t know that we’d go to BOA if we did this.

Our marching band became a volunteer / extra-curricular organization this year. Our director is very interested in providing the best musical experience / education for ALL students. We have expanded to 2 concert bands that started meeting the first day of school. An extended marching season therefore doesn’t interfere with concert band. I don’t know that we will ever have the funds to seriously compete at the BOA level. A state series is something we might be able to pursue / afford.

Because classifying marching bands by school size is an incredibly stupid idea.

Although we have more then 2,000 students at our school and would therefore be placed in the largest class, our maching band is relatively small (~75 students). We would never be successful competing against other large schools with large marching bands, such as Prospect or Lake Park. Schools should be placed in a class based upon band size, not number of students who attend the school.

I think a lot of the kids would enjoy it.

My alma mater always enjoyed getting to compete with other bands. I think a state series would provide even more healthy competition and promote a strong work ethic for all schools.

The school participates in other competitions.

I believe that my school would see participation in an IHSA sanctioned event for marching band as a good thing, giving the music department more support from the school. Currently, our school does not give as much attention to the music department and I believe an IHSA event for marching band would give more attention to the music department.

Competition is a part of the program. Attending the major festivals at present would simply transfer over to an IHSA series.

I don’t know if our director would consider it worth the students’ time to take part in. I think if it was at locations fairly easy to get to, and there was a consistently high quality of scoring/bands participating, he would be interested.

They are a large school and a major player in the Illinois marching band world.

It’s hard to believe that IHSA would try to establish a competitive marching band program when they can hardly manage the programs they already have established. Need I mention the horrendous solo/ensemble competitions? While the marching band system in place now may be an annoyance to some, an IHSA sponsored system would be no better. It’s similar to communism: looks good on paper but doesn’t look so good when in action.

Should Illinois have a statewide marching band championship?

Of the 28 respondents, we received 24 “yes” responses (96%) and 1 “no” response (4%); three people skipped this question. In response to the question of why they answered as they did, these are the responses received:

In my humble opinion, the organization has already directed numerous endeavors on the athletic side of school extracurricular activities, and there are more students who would stand a chance to participate in marching band if they do not compete in athletics.

We have it for other sports, why not band!? It’d provide much healthy competition.

A standardized judging format and possible participation for all would be beneficial for all. Bands would know if they were actually improving over the course of the season. U of I and ISU could still host their competitions but they would no longer be the be all end all of Illinois marching competition.

Greater exposure of Illinois bands and uniformity of a state championship.

Illinois NEEDS to have a state championship in order to push it into the future of marching band. We are only going to get farther behind Texas and Indiana without a statewide championship series.

Many other states do it, notably Indiana. Having a competitive series might strengthen Illinois’ position in the marching band world overall.

Schools from all across the state would be able to compete with one another on a level playing field.

I believe it will give more meaning to the words “State Champion” as well as providing for judges that cannot have any bias because they will be approved by the IHSA to judge according to set rules.

It’s about time. We have a rich tradition of marching band, yet get very little recognition for it. A state series would improve that.

What’s not to like? Standardized scoring, a true idea of where the band “stacks up” against other bands its size, a really good organized system. Of course Marian Catholic gets to run over its class.

Competition forces the level of performance higher. It will make schools who now put little [effort into] marching band try harder, and that will raise the level of all bands statewide. That will make Illinois schools, small and large, better able to compete nationally. Look at the most dominant band states—Texas, Oklahoma, and Indiana—they all have an intense state circuit.

I think organized competition would really help marching band in Illinois develop and grow.

Right now I think the discrepancy between what constitutes a state champion in Illinois is somewhat silly, but if Illinois held its own championships (or named one competition to give the title) this would end the silliness.

Next …

This is the fifth page of our report. The previous chapter, entitled “Directors identify important elements for marching band,” is available here. The next chapter (link) will address legal questions about a state high school association-sponsored marching band championship in light of recent decisions in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.