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Marching Millers sail home with the win

Noblesville Millers marching band takes the title at Band Day

The+Marching+Millers+night+performance+at+the+Indiana+State+Fair+Band+Day.
The Marching Millers night performance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day.

The Marching Millers night performance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day.

Photo provided by: Bethany Robinson

Photo provided by: Bethany Robinson

The Marching Millers night performance at the Indiana State Fair Band Day.

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“And in second place, with a score of 91.00, Winchester!”

Photo provided by: Bethany Robinson
The Marching Millers listen to Director Eric Thornbury after they officially won first place at Band Day.

That was it. The deal was sealed. The audience roared. The Noblesville Marching Millers had just become state champions at the Indiana State Fair Band Day.

It has been 65 years since the Marching Millers won first place at the state fair.

On Saturday Aug. 5, the Millers received the top prize with a score of 92.6.

“When Winchester was announced as second place, I couldn’t really do anything,” sophomore drum major Grace Wiles said. “You’ve got to remember, Winchester has been a dynasty for years. They’ve won 4 out of the past 6 years, including today.”

Jay Jasper, NHS music teacher and instructor for the Marching Millers, said he is stunned by the result.

“When we were in top three, that was pretty incredible,” Jasper said. “When they announced Winchester was [in] second place, I was shocked. I think I’m still in shock.”

Not only did the Marching Millers take home first place overall, competing against 49 other bands, they also won 4 out of the 5 caption awards (music, visuals, general effect, and percussion), along with second place in color guard.

Last year, the band finished the season with sixth place at Fair, with the show “Love Unrequited.” Winchester, the Marching Millers’ rival, won the 2016 first place prize. Since then, the size of the marching band has increased to 131 students.

Even though the numbers went up since last year, it didn’t take away from the amount of focus from the group.

“This season, the kids rehearsed better than ever.” Jasper said. “Rehearsals were more focused and the culture changed to one that was focused on putting on the best show every time out.”

“My personal motivation was really just the want to be great, and the strive for excellence for the whole band. I have never been a part of something so awe inspiring as this,” Wiles said.

This year, the band’s performance was called “Sirens” with music from Francis McBeth’s “Of Sailors and Whales.”

The performance begins with the sirens calling out to the sailors, luring them in. By the time the sailors find out that they’re under the siren’s spells, they’re already being sent to their doom. The show ends with the sirens pulling the sailors under the water and drowning them.

“The Marching Millers are known for their shows starting off very sweet, and then [moving] into something creepy”, says senior Libby Meyer. Meyer was in the crowd at the State Fair, was member of the color guard last year, and has been a fan of the marching millers for 5 years, since her older brother was also part of the band. According to Meyer, watching the show unfold definitely puts you on the edge of your seat.

The music and visual effects in the show enhances the performance, making crowd members anxious. Meyer said the light effects used in the night show added excitement and personality to the Miller’s night performance. It takes crowd members on a journey through the sea as though they are inside of a storybook, with the music guiding them, alternating between soft, quiet measures to loud booming ones.

So far this season, the Marching Millers have not only won first place at Band Day, but they have won three consecutive competitions leading up to the state fair.

They won at Muncie, Winchester, and just a week and a half before the state fair, on their own turf. This had been the first time the Marching Millers had won the Black and Gold Invitational at Hare Chevrolet Stadium. The three consecutive wins created hope and excitement for not only the band members, but those sitting in the crowd as well, according to Meyer, who expected nothing less than first place.

“Oh yeah, I definitely expected them to win. I mean, they have been doing amazing their whole season,” Meyer said.

According to Meyer, it was hard not to be excited and proud immediately after the night show.

“After they performed [in the night show], I screamed my vocal chords dry. I was so proud and happy for them because I knew they did their absolute best,” Meyer said.

The Marching Millers director and teacher at NHS, Eric Thornbury, knew the band was already champions before the night was over.

“We knew [the Marching Millers] were champions way before any judge told us.” Thornbury said. “Now they see the correlation between working hard with positive attitudes and competitive success. It’s been a magical summer and I am so proud to be the director of the Marching Millers.”

The Marching Millers have 2 more performances at a high school football game on Aug. 18 and their performance at ISSMA before the 2017-18 season is officially over.

Wiles said, “We’re all sitting on the bus and thinking, ‘All right, what’s next?’ I don’t think anyone really comprehends that we won… I think this is the beginning of our dynasty.”

Additional reporting by: Kaleigh Newton

 

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The online home of the Mill Stream, Shadow and NHS News - Noblesville High School
Marching Millers sail home with the win