EHS Marching Band “Rises Up” To The Challenge At Competition


Kate Smith, Staff Writer

The average person doesn’t go to a high school football game for the halftime marching band show, right?

That’s why marching bands have their own competitive season. In Indiana, bands across the state perform at multiple invitationals–all of them hoping to reach State Finals. The uncertainty of 2020 brought an early end to that year’s season, which would have been the first time two former Elkhart high schools, Central and Memorial, performed as one. Instead, this year marks the debut season of the combined Elkhart High School Marching Band. Finn Howell, a junior and one of Elkhart’s three drum majors, considers the year ahead. “I’m nervous about competitions,” Howell admits, “as we’re in competition season now.”

Despite Elkhart High School now being one of the largest Indiana high schools, their marching band is not nearly the size some would expect. The size of the school puts them in Class A, but they don’t have the same participant numbers as other Class A schools do. Big names in the marching band playing field–such as Carmel, Homestead, Fishers and other Indianapolis area high schools–have had upwards of two or three hundred members in previous years. Elkhart High School has barely half of that this season, with around 110 participants. This puts them in a unique situation where they can opt to compete in Scholastic Class A instead of Class A. Scholastic Class A means they will go up against bands their size instead of schools their size. Howell thinks it’s better that Elkhart will be in Scholastic Class A. As Howell put it, “Class A is a stretch.”

After a few false starts involving director and staffing changes, as well as a switch in show concept and music, things are looking up for Elkhart. Much progress has been made over the season so far during the summer band camp and twice-weekly rehearsals. The band members were eager to show off their striking new uniforms that denote the beginning of a new era for Elkhart. They worked diligently to prepare the first half of their program for performance, and recently got the chance to play for an audience other than the Friday night football crowd. Elkhart High School marching band took the field to perform their 2021 show, entitled Rise Up, for the first time in competition at the Concord Invitational on Sept. 18. They placed 4th, scoring a 57.15. The band will take the field next this Saturday–Oct. 2–at Plymouth High School.

March on, Elkhart High School Lions!