IVC Marching Grey Ghosts produce successful season

Marianne Gillespie
Alexis Hart plays a trumpet solo during the IVC Marching Grey Ghosts performance at Bands of America in St. Louis.

The IVC Marching Grey Ghosts are leaving their hearts on their sleeves as their competitive season is done, and they have much to show for it.

With six bands in their class and 42 bands competing total, IVC won the Class 1A State title on Oct. 11 at Illinois State University.

The competition goes by school size, with the bands ranging from 40 to close to 200 members. IVC has 110 band members.

When the band took to the field around 8:30 a.m. to play their piece “Love is Louder (Than),” Director of Bands Matt Chapman was both confident and nervous.

“I felt there were spots in the show it could fall apart or we could sail through it. The kids nailed every one of (the hard spots),” Chapman said.

With a high energy on the field, several people told him there was no doubt in their minds that IVC had won it.

“Everything peaked at the right moment,” Chapman said of the competitions throughout the season.

He explained that for a band director, it is hard to know for sure how the band plays as the sound goes over his head.

“Every one of our staff members felt confident that we had done well, but we had to wait for the results,” Chapman said.

With seven judges reviewing the bands, IVC rose to the top as they also won all four captions: music effect, visual effect, individual marching and individual visual performance on the field.

Another caption, crowd appeal, has nothing to do with the judges or the band’s score. The announcer gives that award, which also went to IVC.

“We were the only band to win all the captions,” Chapman said.

This is the 14th state championship for the IVC Marching Grey Ghosts, and the first time the band has won back-to-back titles with all the captions. IVC scored 63.5, which left U-High in second place at 57.

While the winning bands compete in the evening for an overall winner, this year the IVC Homecoming Dance was the same night, so band members came home early.

“We wanted the kids to be able to experience Homecoming activities,” Chapman said.

That did not mean their competitive season was over, however.

For the third year, the band traveled to the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional. Leaving early the morning of Oct. 17, the band received lots of help to get to the competition from G&D Trucking providing a semi and another driver from Eberle Brothers Trucking donating his time to help the band get to their competition.

Playing at the St. Louis Rams home at Edward Jones Dome, the band finished its competitive season with a fifth-place score out of six teams.

The super regional is challenging, which Chapman and the students know before they go, but Chapman said winning the competition is not the only objective.

The band which won IVC’s class hailed from Arkansas. In total, 64 bands competed from states such as Minnesota, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri.

“These are bands that perform at the Macy’s Day Parade or the Rose Bowl,” Chapman said. “We’re like the little fish in a big sea. The goal is for the kids to see them and what they can accomplish so we can go.”

The top judging focuses on each student’s movement on the field.

“They’ve learned that the movements they make illustrate their professionalism. … They need to think about their actions,” Chapman said.

Music to Chapman’s ears also included several parents of other bands loved IVC’s show.

That love may have something not only to do with band’s musical skills, but also the anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, etc., message the band spread each time it played the piece. Students also connected with the piece.

“It became their show. They had the opportunity to affect others better than before,” Chapman said. “It was a chance for them to give than receive.”

He also thanked band members and their parents for their giving of time and sticking through the grueling marching band season. Students practice around 12 hours at school during a regular week.

The band will play “Love is Louder (Than)” a few more times at IVC District 321 events.