The Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Marching Band takes a moment to reflect before taking the field at the Clarkston Invitational. (Photo: Julie O'Connor)The Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Marching Band takes a moment to reflect before taking the field at the Clarkston Invitational. (Photo: Julie O'Connor)

The Plymouth-Canton Marching Band won first place in the MCBA (Michigan Competing Band Association) competition in Clarkston on October 21st with a score of 91.8. The band also won all three captions for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect. The 2017 show entitled a-rOund incorporates the musical form called a round, many round visual images in the show, and new this week, a rotating stage.

Jason Wonsowski, crew chief, has been helping to build the mechanically complex stages. There are a number of adults that are working on them in addition to their day jobs. It will take four adults per stage (there are three) to set it up. “This is something that has never been done before. We are lucky to have this crown jewel of a marching band right here in our schools.” A crew of 25 adults in addition to the students are needed to put this production on the field within the three-minute set-up time, and following the performance has a two-minute limit to clear the field or risk a point penalty. Plymouth-Canton marching band is nationally known for pushing the envelope on innovation and state of the art aesthetic approaches to marching band. The band has won the Bands of America Grand Nationals three times, and is looking forward to representing the Plymouth-Canton community at Nationals the weekend of November 10th.

Mila Garza, a sophomore trumpet player said that the experience was “really great to work together as a team, putting all the props together and showing everybody what we can do.” Senior flutist Lauren Hull who has been in the band all four years said that the difference this year was that “the last year makes everything more important. Every competition you get closer to the end. Your last time being in this band program.” She is looking forward to the trip to nationals. She chose to play flute because not only did her best friend play it, she continued the legacy of her mom, who also played flute.

Field Commanders Gina Dossantos, Matt Milanovich, Madison Rosol, Katy Wilmarth, Catherine Christenson, Christian Vacca, and Lauren Garvey accept the trophies at the Clarkston competition. (Photo: Julie O'Connor)Field Commanders Gina Dossantos, Matt Milanovich, Madison Rosol, Katy Wilmarth, Catherine Christenson, Christian Vacca, and Lauren Garvey accept the trophies at the Clarkston competition. (Photo: Julie O'Connor)Band Booster president Nancy Milanovich, the mother of senior drum major son Matthew and sophomore flutist Marissa, is so thrilled and proud of the band. She said the feeling in the stands was just somehow different. “The kids exuded a higher level of confidence. It was just a notch or two above what we have seen so far.” Parents in the group wondered if the new props added visual intrigue, or if it was just a result of higher performing level. Obviously, the judges agreed.

“A point of pride is just the amount of work that’s gone in by the entire community of kids, staff and parents to finally see the stages out there, knowing that we started talking about those in January -- to finally see that felt good for the kids who were on it, and the parents” beamed director G. Jon Thomann in a moment of reflection. “As far as their performance and achievement tonight goes, we were very happy with the effort today. We have even better performances to come, I think. It was a solid learning night. What we learned tonight was that if the students really want to achieve greatness, that’s going to have to happen every single opportunity they have. The crowd really enjoys the show this year – there were a lot of applause points. The judging community really enjoys it. They say they want to see it again. They understand it, and think it’s super clever. It’s fun and [the students] buy into it for sure. We still have three weeks to dig in.”

The band will perform at the Great Lakes Invitational, a competition the band annually hosts at the Canton stadium on October 28th. MCBA State Finals are on November 4th at Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions, in downtown Detroit. The top twelve bands in each of four flights, based on the size of the school will perform their final statewide performance. The Bands of America national competition circuit is not affiliated with MCBA. Michigan bands that are scheduled to perform include Jenison, Lakeland, Troy Athens, Mount Pleasant, Walled Lake Central, and Plymouth-Canton.