The Morton High School marching band continued its banner year with a trip to the NFL Oct. 21.
“I sent videos of the band performance to the (St. Louis) Rams and asked if we could perform for one of their games,” band teacher Jeff Neavor said. “They asked us to perform for halftime of their biggest game of the year against the (Green Bay) Packers.”
The team’s trip was not one for student’s with stage fright.
“The Rams game was amazing,” Neavor said. “We were out on the field right there on the sideline with the Packers for the end of the second quarter and then the kids played an incredible show for 66,000 people. I can’t even put into words how amazing the whole weekend was.”
Throughout the season the team has won best percussion, best guard, first place in 4A, overall top percussion and grand champion band at the Washington Invitational; best general effect and second place 4A at the Prospect Knight of Champions; best percussion, best guard, first place class 3A and overall grand champion band at the Normal West Invitational; best guard, best music and first place 3A at the University of Illinois Illini Marching Band Championships and best general effect, finalist and class 2A Regional champion and division one rating at the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional.
“This group of students is incredible,” Neavor said. “They work incredibly hard and they believe in themselves. Musically, we play better than we ever have before and we have an awesome group of seniors and section leaders.
“The staff is like a family and has been together for 11 years now and we are better each year at what we do because the kids push us to be better just as much as we push them.”
This year’s multiple award-winning performance is meant to have an uplifting message for the audience.
“The show is called ‘Powerful Beyond Measure,’” Neavor said. “The message is that we are all capable of greatness. We are all meant to shine!”
While this year has been tremendous in terms of success for the band, Neavor said it also bodes well for the reputation and future of the program.
“I think the Morton band is recognized and respected by music people throughout the country now and that is a great thing for Morton and Illinois bands in general,” Neavor said. “We’ve had an amazing journey over the last 10 years. Nothing is out of reach in the next 10 years.”
On Saturday, the band capped a successful season by taking first place in Class 2A at Illinois State University’s Hancock Field, marking its eighth consecutive state championship.
The band also qualified for the grand championship finals and placed ninth out of 14 schools.