Pride of the Green

Sun-Commercial photo by Tom Bartholomew | Color guard member Jenny Jewel performs the Pride of the Green's show "Oculus" during the Lincoln High School marching band's performance on Nov. 2 at the Indiana State School Music Association semi-state competition at Decatur Central High School. The band is performing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today in the ISSMA state finals, the 13th time the band has made it to the finals.

Lincoln High School’s Pride of the Green is marching back to the Indiana State School Music Association championships today.

The band will be performing this afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the 13th time; it’s the group’s third consecutive trip to the state finals, and last year they finished fourth, the school's best showing.

And band director Bill Marsh said a season of continued growth — and a lot of tenacity — has put them in a position to perform well.

“We were a younger band, so it took us a little time to get started,” Marsh said of the group, which is heavy on freshmen and sophomore students this year. “But, eventually, everything clicked. And in the past three weeks, when things started to come together, we really started to gel.

“And about regionals, that’s really when they started to kick it in.”

Musicians and color guard members will meet at 6:45 a.m. today at the high school for one last practice. They’ll then make their way to Indianapolis where they are scheduled to perform at 3:30 p.m.

This year’s show, “Oculus,” Marsh said, was inspired by the eye and features musical arrangements from the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

The show, he said, can be separated into three parts — or movements.

The first, he said, includes music by Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles. The second uses Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes off You.”

The final movement, he said, is with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”

“All of the music has ‘eye’ themes to it, and the visuals on the field make the shape of eyes,” Marsh said. “The color guard flags have eyes on them. We have balls, like eyeballs, that we use on the field.

“It’s all pretty cool.”

The band uses a designer in Indianapolis to select an overall concept for the show. They also consult with a music arranger and a color guard writer as well. The whole team, he said, including the local directors, work together to fine tune the final show.

Marsh said he loved “Oculus” from the beginning, in large part because the music speaks to his soul.

“All the music, it’s my kind of music,” he said. “That’s the music I liked.

“And I like it because it’s really different than anything else we’ve done before.”

Marsh said as the band performed over the course of the season, they continued to fine-tune the show. Week after week, he said, they would take judges comments and make changes.

After last weekend's semi-state, they re-wrote the entire last 30 seconds of the show.

“But it went well, with the rewrites,” he said. “And I think the ending is now better, more attainable.”

Whether the judges think so today, Marsh doesn’t know. And he doesn’t much care either.

“The kids have been awesome,” he said. “Being young, they’ve all enjoyed some pretty good learning experiences. And they’ve all strived to take the show to the next level. I’m proud of them for how hard they’ve worked.

“You never know how it will go,” he said of today’s competition. “I think the show is definitely Top 5, but who knows. I just want the kids to do their very best and make it the very best performance of the season. What the judges decide, they decide.

“Placement is just a number.”

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