Avon Marching Black and Gold Places Second at Grand Nationals

Oliver Brobeck | Reporter


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Eight beautiful notes. Placed in perfect order.

Avon’s Marching Black and Gold has dominated the high school band field, taking the title of national champion three times and, as of last weekend, the title of state champion 14 times. Avon was one of 16 matching bands from the state of Indiana competing at Grand Nationals, and they ended up placing second, with a win in the category of Outstanding Visual Performance. This is the 13th-consecutive year that Avon has placed top-three nationally.

Ninety-one bands performed at Grand Nationals from Nov. 14-16, hosted at Indy’s own Lucas Oil Stadium. Avon ended the competition with an overall score of 96.700, less than a half of a point away from the 97.175 score of the band that placed first, Vandegrift High School from Leander, Texas.

Avon’s Marching Black and Gold, consisting of 256 members, performed their show titled “UNBAROQUEN,” which revolves around the eight key notes in Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. The show is based on 1600s-1700s Western European art and music. “UNBAROQUEN” focuses on how perfectly one can play those eight notes. The same order of notes from Baroque-era songs are still used in today’s music, and some consider the background chord structure to be the backbone of modern music.

Avon started their show promptly at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, and then came back and performed again for the semi-finals.

Students had been preparing for this competition since the summer, putting countless, hard hours into after-school practices and at-home preparation. Students went to band camp from July 14-27 for 12 hours a day and had practices after school every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and some Fridays.

The show features some older pieces that contain the chord structure, like Bach’s Cello Suite, Fugue in G minor, and Bach’s Chaconne, but then transitions into songs that have come out more recently, featuring artists like Miley Cyrus and Green Day.

Senior Allie Simon said that part three of the show holds a special place in her heart for this reason.

“We play ‘Hook’ by Blues Traveler, ‘Basket Case’ by Green Day, and ‘Party in the USA’ by Miley Cyrus,” Simon said. “We danced and had fun poses, and it was, overall, a fun time no matter if we were practicing it or performing it.”

Senior Chase Childers said that this show was different from Avon’s previous show, ‘A Fish Tale,’ because they performed more and showed more facial expressions. Childers said that his favorite part of the show is the closer.

“It’s so powerful and really emotional. It’s a great way for me to end my season,” Childers said.

“UNBAROQUEN” has been said to feel nostalgic to returning AMB&G members, specifically seniors who have been a part of the band program for all four years of high school, because it brings together previous shows and contains elements from ‘Go Forth,’ ‘Test4ment,’ and ‘A Fish Tale,’ Avon’s 2016, 2017, and 2018 shows.

Avon’s band program is catching the attention of band fanatics. Childers moved to Avon from Florida specifically because of the incredible music program.

“There’s a buzz about Avon that makes people talk about us. People are realizing how good our band is,” Childers said.

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