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High school band, with new director, participates at state fair Band Day
Updated on: 08.05.13

INDIANAPOLIS -- Brown County High School's competition marching band placed 36th out of 44 during the Indiana State Fair's Band Day contest Aug. 2. This was the band's second-ever showing at the contest, and its first under new BCHS Band Director Angelo Anton.

"The kids did a great job," Anton said. "They worked hard this summer. I'm proud of the job they've done."

Mark and Jinny Thompson were among the Brown Countians who traveled with the band. Jinny shared the following thoughts:

GUEST COLUMN:

'How this Brown Countian lost her faith and had it restored by a small group of competition band members'

What a tough year we had endured! First, our principal resigned, then, the band director, followed by the choir director. They each left for good reasons (I believe it was their wives’ jobs), but it still felt as though the sky was falling at Brown County High School.

Maybe it was time to jump ship, and rest on our laurels, as they say. But a small group of dedicated kids, and a promising new band director, pulled me back into the fold.

I have been around long enough to know that change in our lifetimes is inevitable. I am one of those dinosaurs who likes Ma-and-Pa grocery stores, watching sunsets instead of reality TV, and having someone pump my gas for me.

I have experienced change, however, that might be painful in the beginning, but turns out to be a wonderful thing -- like the new Brown County Intermediate School, which will be difficult for those kids involved in long bus rides, but exciting for the prospect of starting these students in band at a younger age, making Brown County more competitive with other schools who begin in fifth or sixth grade.

Speaking of competition, there is a volunteer group of 35 Brown County High School students this year, who, for a variety of reasons, chose to give up half of their shortened summer vacations to learn and perfect a six-minute show to present at county level contests in preparation for today’s event -- the venerable tradition of Band Day at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, in which 44 bands represent their schools, both large and small.

Like the We The People competition representatives, our drama department, our athletes, and all of our academic achievers, the Brown County name goes out to the world on the shoulders of a few brave souls who desire to excel beyond the required expectations.

I continue to marvel at the stamina and enthusiasm of each member of this band. Our size was affected this year by the loss of seniors, coupled with a new band director at the high school, Angelo Anton. Anytime that happens, there is a loss of continuity. The younger students don’t know what to expect, so they hesitate to commit. We also have students who have jobs during the summer, and families who are out of town, making it impossible to attend rehearsals. I believe we can encourage more kids to participate in future years and Mr. Anton intends to make it his mission to do so.

The theme of our show this year is 1970, and the band plays special arrangements of "Lucretia MacEvil" (Blood, Sweat and Tears), "Colour My World" (Chicago), and "Vehicle" (Ides of March). I joked one day at practice after glancing around, that I was the only one there who remembered those songs when they were new!

The infield at the fairgrounds was a dust bowl, the wind fighting the flags of the color guard and the drums of the drum line, and blowing grit into eyes and mouths. Black shoes and pants were quickly turned to shades of grey, coated with a layer of Indiana dirt.

I continued to wonder why these kids bothered. Here’s what a few of them shared with me: Drum Major Jon Allender, senior, said “because it is an amazing experience and you make great friends.” Drum Major Cody Burker, junior, does it for “the awesome memories and lifetime friendships, and, oh, we get to march!” Freshman Abbie Shaffer loves band and to “gain/learn new things,” and sophomore Andrew Gardner loves to play his horn and make “memories to remember forever.”

So, once again, these fine kids at Brown County High School have reminded me why I stay to watch them grow, to share their joys and disappointments, and always emerge a better person for having known them. If our future lies with this group who stepped across that start line in front of a grandstand packed with people, who played and marched their hearts out for those brief moments, then we can all be proud and positive about tomorrow.

We didn’t place as high as we did last year, but it is only one year out of many -- hopefully -- that Brown County will participate. And I will return because of the Volunteer Competition Marching Band of 2013, who taught me, as the composer Paul Hindemith said, “our task is, amid (the) confusion, rush and noise, to grasp the lasting, (the) calm and (the) meaningful, and finding it anew, to hold and treasure it.”

Jinny Thompson is a volunteer saxophone instructor at the junior high and high school level.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Ruth Elizabeth Sinders, 72, Ellettsville
  Mother of Cindy Wise (husband, Rich) of Nashville

Barbara Ann Rich, 80, Nashville
  Wife of Rodney Rich of Nashville

Betty (Zink) Bailey, 86, Morgantown
  

  • September 3
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
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    Hamblen Fire Protection District
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    Live fingerstyle at dance barn
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    'Into the Storm' movie at the Playhouse
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    Euchre
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    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
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    Gospel jam session
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    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • September 12
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
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    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • September 13
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    1 to 7 p.m. Story Inn, 6404 State Road 135 South
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    Euchre
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  • September 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 18
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • September 18
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 19
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • September 19
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • September 20
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 20
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • September 27
    Women’s Retreat Day
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