Local high school bands march in Indianapolis 500 parade
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As crowds line the streets in Downtown Indianapolis for the 500 Festival Parade, they may be unaware of just how much goes into the massive event.
Saturday, one of the biggest parades in the entire country was helped along by hundreds of high school students from Michiana.
"Over the years, I think we’ve come across as a consistent, quality band to have in a parade," said Scott Spradling, the Director of Music at Concord High School. "Parades also like big bands that have a lot of kids and I think we’ll give them that kind of show."
Concord and NorthWood High School are two of the select few marching bands given the opportunity to represent the state alongside the celebrities, but a lot of work is needed to make sure things run smoothly.
“We’ve got 250 kids so we’re trying to get all of them on the same page," said Spradling. "You don’t just show up and start walking. You’ve got to practice it. We’ve got to practice turns and we just have to get them in condition to do it.”
However, Concord and NorthWood are both familiar with the big stage. The Marching Minutemen have performed in parades as large as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. For the Red Regiment, it's one of many parades they'll take part in this year, giving just a little more exciting version of business as usual.
“As far as rehearsals go, it’s been our normal routine," said NorthWood's director of bands Eric Criss. "The fact that we get to play in Indianapolis has just kind of been icing on the cake.”
And for the students, it was the perfect way to cap a school year as they head into the summer months.
“It’s a lot of fun," said current NorthWood drum major Emerson Mast. "It’ll really be cool to be back down in Indy one more time and have that experience to cap it off.”
“When we go down to Indy, we like to call it Christmas whether it’s in the heat of summer or the cold of winter," said incoming drum major Christian Slaven. "It’s just a special treat anytime we go. Any occasion, it’s really fun."
So on a weekend where traditions and state pride are on full display, these bands had a chance to make their own mark for their communities, and to show their role in the state's rich passion for music.
"Our community has always been very involved in our music and it’s something that’s important to them," said Spradling. "So really it’s our honor to represent not only Concord community but also represent the state of Indiana."
“Marching band in Indiana is huge," said Chriss, "and it’s an honor just to be a part of it. It’s something I take a lot of pride in, and we’re very fortunate that our community supports the arts that way.”