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Marching Band Makes Semifinals at BOA Grand National Championships

By Natalie Jones and Mishka Witkin, RHS Students, 11/17/19, 11:30PM EST

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Final pose as Rockford High School Marching Band performs their 2019 show “Fer Forgé” during the BOA Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. ~ Photo by Misty Steinhauer

Marching Rams land 19th in the nation

The Rockford High School Marching Band topped off their 2019 season in Indianapolis this past weekend as they competed at the Bands Of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium. This was the culmination of a very successful season that also came with many challenges along the way. From the awkward schedules due to the EEE mosquito virus, to the snow that prevented the marching band from practicing over the course of the entire week leading up to Nationals. Band director Brian Phillips, said that watching the band overcome these challenges was one of his favorite things about this season, explaining that, “Despite everything we went through, we pulled together as a team and still made an amazing product.” 

The marching band’s preliminary performance was on Friday, Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m., and they returned to the stands that night to hear the announcement that they had earned a spot at semifinals the next day. The top 38 bands of the 93 performing were chosen, with Rockford ranked among the top 22 bands chosen regardless of class. On Saturday, Nov. 16, the band took the field at 1:45 p.m., performing “Fer Forgé” for the last time. As the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd stood to their feet, the marching band finished their season, knowing they’d left it all on the field. Once out of the stadium, the band met in the parking lot— the drum majors, marchers, percussion, and color guard gathered around their directors to talk about their final performance.

The band reflected on their one-of-a-kind season, moving staff and band members alike to tears.

Senior drum major, Coral Brock, said, “I’m so proud of everyone’s dedication to the band. Everyone puts in so much time and effort into this, and I’m so proud of that. One moment that really stood out to me was when we were in the end zone at States waiting to take the field. They announced our name, and I said to the other three drum majors, ‘Guys, that’s us,’ and it hit me then what all we could accomplish.”

Senior drum major, Brandon Guetschow, also explained how proud he is by saying, “I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to lead this group of high schoolers. Together, we continuously strived for excellence. I’m really going to miss being a drum major next year, but I can’t wait to see the band continue to do amazing things in upcoming years.” 

The RHSMB placed 19th at nationals; the past six months of hard work had finally come to an end. The band arrived at Rockford High School at 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, to honking horns and sparklers, welcoming them home after their final victory of the season. 

“We finished the season with an outstanding performance and an amazing overall experience,” said Brian Phillips. “I could not be more proud of the students, staff, and support system.”

The band whole-heartedly agrees. The Rockford High School Marching Band would like to thank the Rockford community, as well as the Rockford band parents, for their constant support. None of this would be possible without all of the support and participation in numerous fundraisers and events throughout the year. The band would also like to congratulate their fellow Michigan bands, the Plymouth-Canton Marching Band and the Jenison Marching Band, on making the semifinals, as well!


Photo of Jumbo Screen at Lucas Oil Stadium awaiting the start of RHSMB Semi Finals performance. ~ Photo by Frank Renberg


RHSMB performing during Semi Finals at Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium. ~ Photo by Frank Renberg


Final pose with RHSMB color guard during Semifinals performance at Lucas Oil Stadium. ~ Photo by Frank Renberg


RHSMB performing during Semifinals at Grand National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. ~ Photo by Kristy Crysler