The Plymouth-Canton Marching Band came in second place at the Michigan Competing Band Association (MCBA) State Finals on November 4th at Detroit’s famous Ford Field. The Rockford High School marching band won with their show entitled “Tao” and took home the Flight I banner with a score of 94.025, winning all three captions  -- Outstanding Visual Performance, Outstanding General Effect, and Outstanding Music Performance, with Novi High School tied for the latter. Plymouth-Canton came in slightly less than one point behind with a score of 93.175.  The 2017 show “a-Round” has been a crowd- and student-favorite since bringing the rotating stages on the field. The band has taken first place in all of the state level competitions it has competed in up to this point, and came in fourth at the Bands of America regional in Toledo, which included bands from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Michigan.

While the weather has been quite mild all season, the evening was eventful as rain and lightning rolled in. Students may not warm-up outside if lightning is detected, so the schedule took on a 15-20 minute delay as bands coming in ready to perform needed to take shelter. This impacted the last three bands to perform in Flight I: Novi, Plymouth-Canton, and Rockford. Fortunately, the many Plymouth-Canton Music Boosters volunteers kept the competition moving smoothly.

Jenison High School won in Flight II with a score of 93.025, regaining the title from Reeths-Puffer, and all three captions.  In Flight III Lakeshore Stevenson won for the third consecutive year with a score of 91.025, and winning the Music and Visual captions, and second-place DeWitt High School winning the General Effect Caption. Godwin Heights jumped from fourth place in Flight IV in 2016 to first this year, taking all three captions.

Plymouth-Canton has a history of adding new components to each show for audience interest and entertainment. The state performance added choreography and colorful tarps to the spinning stages adding visual contrast. The woodwind quartet that opens the show modified the music, and a trombone solo was added, played by Javier Garza.  

The front ensemble, or pit percussion is expanded this year, including electric bass played by senior Rachel Browning, and a drum set feature played by senior Joe Jankowski. Joe is proud to rejoin the marching band, and is an exciting visual presence for the audience. He is a member of several local pop/rock bands, and plays for charity events benefitting the Northville Living and Learning Center. The senior leadership will pass role model baton to front ensemble juniors Armando Saucedo on marimba, and Ty See, a convert from alto saxophone, who joined the pit percussion when knee problems kept him from traditional marching. Freshmen Karlee Forrester and Benjamin Hodge have grown tremendously as players throughout the season, taking on new challenges. Sophomore Lauren Jensen on synthesizer says her “favorite part of the show is Part III. It is upbeat and fast with ‘You Spin Me Round.’ It’s a catchy melody that gets the audience going.” Percussion director James Spalding is proud of how the group, made up of several students who are new to percussion have been making progress. “As it gets cleaner (more accurate as an ensemble) I find myself not having to worry so much.”

The band will conclude the 2017 season at the Bands of America Grand Nationals competition in Indianapolis. They will play in Preliminary Performance on Friday, November 10th, along with five other Michigan bands that are scheduled to perform including Jenison, Lakeland, Troy Athens, Mount Pleasant, and Walled Lake Central. The top thirty bands will go on to Semi-Finals on Saturday, November 11th, in which Plymouth-Canton has placed in every year it has participated. Should the band place in the top twelve, it will go on to Grand Nationals Finals Saturday evening. The band has won the Grand National Championship three times, establishing its position as one of the top marching bands in the United States.        

There will not be much time for rest – the winter guard and winter percussion programs will begin just days after returning! For more information, please see the band website, www.pcmb.net.