IVC Marching Grey Ghosts picking up steam

Marianne Gillespie
The IVC Marching Grey Ghosts perform Saturday at the Dunlap Invitational. IVC placed second in their class and second overall. The audience will notice this year's program of signs with “Love is Louder” written on hands in front of the students and their answers written on their faces.

Leave it to the IVC Marching Grey Ghosts to spread love as they perform and compete in the marching band season.

This year’s program, “Love is Louder (than)” is based off  music by Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy, which was condensed to 5 minutes from its original 19, and mixed with Cameron Ernst’s “Love is Louder.”

Ernst made the song famous on American Idol, as IVC Director of Bands Matt Chapman explained. Love is Louder is a movement started by the Jed Foundation, MTV and Brittany Snow, according to its website at www.loveislouder.com.

“It’s about how we look at people, the value of people and what they bring to the community,” Chapman said.

The audience sees words on the field as the 108 band students fill in the blank of “love is louder than.”

“The kids have really stepped it up with the love is louder comments,” Chapman said.

The movement has been used to combat bullying, self image issues, discrimination and more.

Along with the fact that the program is good music, Chapman also chose this program for its stance.

“I think it’s a good message. I think it needs to be told. It embraces a positive message for both youth and adults,” Chapman said.

The band is now moving toward the end of the season, marching to an upswing of good judging results.

“We were at fifth and sixth place at the beginning of the year but now we’re winning captions and coming within tenths of a point to win,” Chapman said.

“We’re doing really well. We’re anticipating great things for the end of the year,” he added.

Competing with eight bands at the first annual Dunlap Invitational Saturday, IVC placed second overall that day and second within Class 3A.

At the Limestone Marching Rockets Field Competition Sept. 27, IVC took home best percussion and winds in Class AA, as well as placing second in the class. IVC also placed second overall in the small schools division.

Next week the band will march in the state finals at Illinois State University in Normal at 8:30 a.m. They will compete in Class 1A against Tri-Valley, Eureka, U-High, Hersher and Olympia.

The band has a legacy to continue since 1990 as the IVC Marching Grey Ghosts have won 13 state championships.

“I feel like the parents and students are helping out and lifting each other up,” Chapman said.

The season will not end there, however, as the band will compete at the Bands of America Super Regional, which is a national competition in St. Louis on Oct. 17.

Traditionally, the band does not do as well as in the super regional, Chapman said, because of the stiff national competition.

“However we place, we’re looking forward to it,” Chapman said.

Band members even have stuck it out in the rain to practice.

“They’re really eager to do well for our community,” Chapman said.

They have even used the Love is Louder theme to decorate the IVC library and some students have completed art projects with it.

While the marching band season is coming to a close, more fun activities are coming in the spring.

The band will play at the Indianapolis 500 in May, which is over Memorial Day weekend.

About 60 percent of the band is planning to attend, Chapman said, and some still need financial support.

They will walk in the parade the day before the race, and will play music sent to them for the pre-race festivities.

They will play “Ghost Riders” on the track and will then watch the race.

The band raises funds annually to help support the program.

The annual raffle tickets should be out in the next two weeks as residents will have five chances to win part of a $5,000 prize. Tickets are $5 apiece or $20 for five. There are a limited number of tickets.

Raffle winners will be announced at the band concert Dec. 6.

They also are selling boxed fruit and Hawaiian coffee.