MHS band brings home third

Holly Richrath
The Morton High School Marching Band finished its season in Indianapolis over the weekend winning third place in the nation for Class 2A.

The Morton High School Marching Band has had quite a season.

During its 2010 season, the band claimed its sixth consecutive Illinois State Class 2A Championship at Illinois State University, earned the title of overall grand champions at the Illini Marching Festival at the University of Illinois, was named the Class 5A champion and overall top field show score at the Metamora Field Show and overall top field show score and class 4A champion at the Washington Field Show.

The band’s season wrapped last weekend at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where MHS students competed against nearly 90 bands from across the country.

“Morton advanced from the two-day preliminary competition to the National Semifinals for the first time in school history,” said band director Jeff Neavor. “The band gave an emotional performance inSemifinals on Saturday morning and won third place in the nation for Class AA.”

Going into the competition, Neavor said the band was prepared for anything.

“Making Semifinals at nationals was our next major goal with the program, and we felt we had the band and the show to do that this year,” he said. “The competition at this level is incredible, and we went into Indy hoping that our dream ending would happen, but knowing we were at that level regardless of where we finished at the end of the day.”

The preliminary round of competition was Thursday. After that, the band practiced Friday morning at an Indianapolis high school, not knowing if they had advanced to the Semifinals.

“They had gotten up early and rehearsed that morning without any complaints, even though the season may have been over already,” Neavor said. “They believed in themselves, and that was what was important.”

The 2010 MHS Marching Band’s performance was inspired by “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” the popular novel written by John Boyne.

Neavor called the show, which highlights the relationship between a young German boy and a young Jewish boy who become friends in Auschwitz during the holocaust, “powerful” and “educationally multilayered.”

Now he can call it a success.

At the start of this year’s marching band season, he said he was proud of the band’s accomplishments and hoped for another successful season. However, he added that winning is not all that matters.

“It’s never about a trophy,” he said. “It’s about seeing the kids put on a performance they’re really proud of and the feeling that they get when they know they’ve done something great.”

The band will be honored at the high school at 6 p.m. Nov. 23. Refreshments will be served and the performance will be shown in the Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center.

For more information about the MHS Marching Band, visit mortonbands.com.