2018 Grand Nationals: What To Look For In Indy

The 2018 BOA season has seen 18 regionals, 3 super regionals, and over 750 bands compete for the last seven weeks in a row. Now, it all comes down to 3 days of competition inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the chance to be named the 2018 Bands of America Grand National Champions. 

Beginning at 7:45 AM EST on Thursday, Nov. 8, the preliminary rounds of performances get things started at the Bands of America Grand National Championship. Then, on Saturday morning, Nov. 10, bands who are selected to advance from prelims will perform again in semifinals competition for a chance at finals Saturday night. 

Coming In Hot:

Carmel (IN)

PRELIMS - Day 1 - 9:15 PM

There is no mistaking when the two-time defending Grand National champions take the field. Carmel walks on to the field knowing they will perform well every time and every time they deliver.

The show begins with an opening sustain from the mellophones on top of their Viking ship prop with an opening fanfare by the rest of the brass. The woodwinds get to show off their musical abilities as the second movement gets started.

Then, the mellophones again get featured by having these two pods of players doing a call and answer. One of the pods is facing backfield to add to the difficulty of ensemble timing of course. As the Flight of the Valkry reaches is pinnacle drill something to behold.

As the band transitions to a trombone soloist on the front left sideline, the world-class guard’s ability to highlight timing with well-placed sabre tosses is unreal. Then as the ballad reaches a climax, the guard covers the field in these massive sail-like flags.

The low brass’ ability to line up the timing of their opening volley during the closer is next level good. They are spread from 10 to 10, and hitting up-beat pickups like its nothing. Carmel’s musical ability to utilize space is also quite beautiful.

Avon (IN)

PRELIMS - Day 1 - 7:30 PM

Another band that needs no introduction, Avon has a brand new look to them this season. The show takes place entirely in an aquarium. The band has brightly colored orange tops with scales printed on them. While the guard is dressed in equally bright uniforms that look like fighting fish.

However, in an interesting turn, the show opens with a familiar tune from Romeo and Juliet. The opening trade-off section is beautifully done not only by the musical talents but the drill and guard work as well. As the trumpets come across the middle of the field, their articulation skills are on full display.

As the ballad movement opens, a muted trumpet soloist sets the tone on the left side 25-yard line. Then a saxophone player answers the on side 2 20-yard line. The integration of the guard here is beautiful during the ballad impact.

Next comes the world-class drumline as the classic tale of Romeo fighting for his love continues to play out. The drill during this furious climax is quite unbelievable.

As the show comes to an end, you might notice Romeo and Juliet running off the back side of the field. Does Avon’s take on the classic tale have a twist for a happy ending? We shall see at Grand Nationals.

Broken Arrow (OK)

PRELIMS - Day 2 - 3:00 PM

First off, that brass opening is glorious—isolated rhythms, difficult syncopation, a few unisons, capped off with a huge impact that you can feel to your core.

The show is almost like a journey through vignettes of America as the members spell different words in the drill and create the recognizable symbols of America. The music quickly moves from one recognizable melody to another. Throughout most of the show, the brass and woodwinds are constantly tossing the melody back and forth with ease while splitting the field.

Also, the Broken Arrow color guard is gigantic, and they have the talent to match their size. The amount of work they do is unbelievable. They fill every count of the show with something.

Once the trombones and saxophone choirs get going, it's like a party on the field. Pure Americana in jazz with melodies from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

The transition right afterward is quickly sobering however once the monuments are brought out to symbolize fallen soldiers. All you hear are the sound of flags filling the air, accompanied by a beautifully soft woodwind feature far on side one. The brass coming in just seals the deal. Tears.

Tarpon Springs (FL)

PRELIMS - Day 2 - 10:30AM

The show we've all been waiting for. Tarpon Springs' "Ready Player One"-themed show called "RP1" has finally made its way out of hiding and onto our screens.

The field is set with massive screens on each 20 and the 50 as three characters emerge blue, yellow, and red. The band runs out from behind the massive screens and comes out to bathe the stadium in glorious chords. The words "Welcome to the Oasis" show up on the screens followed by "find the key." And we're off.

Their drill is impressive, to say the least. Add what they're playing on top of it and you've got a real contender. Tarpon Springs obviously have their eyes set directly on Grand Nationals coming up with this program.

The prop usage is next-level with the massive screens across the field. Each screen is about 5 yards in width and height—they are surprisingly clear, which has been difficult to achieve with screens on the football field.

By the way, the ending is so good that you'll want to see it as many times as you can just so you don't miss a thing.



All times are local to the event and subject to change

PRELIMS Day 1November 8PRELIMS Day 2November 9
7:45 AMProsper (TX)7:15 AMAvon (OH)
8:00 AMCollinsville (IL)7:30 AMKennesaw Mountain (GA)
8:15 AMNordonia (OH)7:45 AMFranklin (TN)
8:30 AMBourbon County (KY)8:00 AMNorth East (PA)
8:45 AMRussell (KY)8:15 AMFort Mill (SC)
9:00 AMBlackhawk (PA)8:30 AMCamdenton (MO)
9:15 AMWoodford County (KY)8:45 AMHardin Valley Academy (TN)
9:30 AMNew Philadelphia (OH)9:00 AMBentonville (AR)
9:45 AMChesapeake (OH)9:15 AMHomestead (CA)
10:00 AMLakota East (OH)9:30 AMFred J. Page (TN)
10:15 AMCampbellsville (KY)9:45 AMBlue Springs (MO)
10:30 AMIndian Hill (OH)10:00 AMEXHIBITION - Tennessee State University
10:45 AMMilford (OH)10:15 AMBREAK
11:00 AMRockford (MI)10:30 AMTarpon Springs (FL)
11:15 AMNortheastern (OH)10:45 AMIndependence (IA)
11:30 AMBREAK11:00 AMMustang (OK)
11:45 AMCentral Hardin (KY)11:15 AMUrbana (MD)
12:00 PMNorth Hardin (KY)11:30 AMFairborn (OH)
12:15 PMWilmington (OH)11:45 AMCabell Midland (WV)
12:30 PMLarry A. Ryle (KY)12:00 PMCentral Crossing (OH)
12:45 PMRockwood Summit (MO)12:15 PMDeSoto Central (MS)
1:00 PMCary Senior (NC)12:30 PMBishop Fenwick (OH)
1:15 PMArchbishop Alter (OH)12:45 PMJenks (OK)
1:30 PMFather Ryan (TN)1:00 PMWalter E. Stebbins (OH)
1:45 PMLogan Elm (OH)1:15 PMBREAK
2:00 PMNorton (OH)1:30 PMCasey County (KY)
2:15 PMPlymouth-Canton Educational Park (MI)1:45 PMSouth Point (OH)
2:30 PMNorthmont (OH)2:00 PMGreenfield Central (IN)
2:45 PMHamilton (OH)2:15 PMNormal (IL)
3:00 PMGreenon Jr./Sr. (OH)2:30 PMSequoyah (TN)
3:15 PMGreen Hope (NC)2:45 PMLaquey (MO)
3:30 PMTroy (OH)3:00 PMBroken Arrow (OK)
3:45 PMCarroll (OH)3:15 PMPanther Creek (NC)
4:00 PMLake Park (IL)3:30 PMWest Salem (OR)
4:15 PMDobyns-Bennett (TN)3:45 PMChristian Academy of Louisville (KY)
4:30 PMTippecanoe (OH)4:00 PMPulaski County (KY)
4:45 PMJohn Hardin (KY)4:15 PMTalawanda (OH)
5:00 PMNation Ford (SC)4:30 PMMonrovia (IN)
5:15 PMCastle (IN)4:45 PMEXHIBITION - Ball State University
5:30 PMLockport Township (IL)5:00 PMMarian Catholic (IL)
5:45 PMO'Fallon Township (IL)5:15 PMUnion City (TN)
6:00 PMLakeland (MI)5:30 PMBellbrook (OH)
6:15 PMPiqua (OH)5:45 PMEast Clinton (OH)
6:30 PMLake Hamilton (AR)6:00 PMMeade County (KY)
6:45 PMWilliam Mason (OH)6:15 PMMilton-Union (OH)
7:00 PMEXHIBITION - Tennessee State University6:30 PMMiamisburg (OH)
7:15 PMBREAK6:45 PMGoshen (IN)
7:30 PMAvon (IN)7:00 PMWalled Lake Central (MI)
7:45 PMLawrence Township (IN)7:15 PMFishers (IN)
8:00 PMCenter Grove (IN)7:30 PMCarlisle (OH)
8:15 PMAmerican Fork (UT)7:45 PMLewis Cass (IN)
8:30 PMHomestead (IN)8:00 PMSiegel (TN)
8:45 PMColumbus North (IN)8:15 PMEXHIBITION - Michigan State University
9:00 PMJenison (MI)8:30 PMPrelims Award Ceremony & Announcement of Semifinalists
9:15 PMCarmel (IN)

9:30 PMWando (SC)

9:45 PMGreendale (WI)

10:00 PMAdair County (KY)

10:15 PMReeths-Puffer (MI)

10:30 PMAda (OH)

10:45 PMCenterville (OH)

11:00 PMMorton (IL)

11:15 PMCompetition Ends

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