Marching Miller Madness: Marching millers place ninth at ISSMA State Finals

Nina Scroggin, Business Manager

This past Saturday, Noblesville’s Marching Millers made history yet again. After their record breaking performance of “Beowulf” earned them a score of 93.35 at the Indiana State fair in 2018, many fans believed that it couldn’t get better than that. However, after three long years of hard work, the Marching Millers set the bar even higher. Receiving the highest score of their season, the Millers placed ninth in their Class A competition with their new set, “Orpheus”. 

     Within Greek mythology, Orpheus was known as the greatest poet and musician of his time. His music was so powerful that it even silenced the entrancing song of sirens at shore. Likewise, the Marching Millers showcased such an enchanting performance throughout their season, that they moved on to ISSMA State Finals for the first time in Noblesville High School history. 

     While the news of moving on to ISSMA State Finals was exciting for the group and fellow students, the expectations became higher, as the State Finals competition is full of the best marching bands across the country.

     Jacob Crossley, the assistant band and marching band director for Noblesville, has been given the opportunity to see the band grow and progress despite being with the Miller marching program for three seasons. 

     “The level of musicality, complexity, and competition is just on a whole different level. It would be like going from peewee baseball to major leagues,” said Crossley.

     Though “Beowulf” serves as a significant moment and achievement for the Millers, the different environments between the State Fair and State Finals raised the stakes. 

     Michael Clark, mellophone section leader and senior at NHS, recalls his days as a freshman in high school in order to point out the changes. 

     “The biggest differences between State Finals and State Fair Band Day would be the size and skill of the bands competing, because State Finals has larger and more intricate shows that take a significantly longer time to produce for the students,” Clark said. 

     Despite the level of difficulty that ISSMA State Finals introduced, the Marching Millers still managed to give it their all and still have fun while doing it. 

     The Millers performed next to last, and scores and placements followed soon after. 

     Erick Murillo, a senior and trumpet at NHS was content with these results. 

     “Being ninth place is bittersweet, but I’m still super proud and am looking forward to the marching band program climbing the ranks in the future,” Murillo said.

     Jenna Dopps, baritone co-section leader and junior, felt unaffected by the number, as she believes the group gave it their all and is grateful for the opportunity.

     “Tonight’s performance was our best yet. It was such a fun experience. I’m fine with where we placed, because we can be proud of how we performed,” Dopps said.     

      Eric Thornbury, director of the Marching Millers, felt that the band made great strides this season despite their placing.

      “It was an amazing season. That was the performance we wanted to end on. Who cares about placings? I’m getting texts from so many people saying how awesome it was. We’re thrilled, and it was fun. I just wanted the students to have fun,” Thornbury said.

     Senior drum major Cole Melton feels that the effort that the Millers put into their performance for the State Finals was completely authentic. The seniors’ opportunity to experience the growth from “Beowulf” to “Orpheus” is truly one of a kind. 

     “State Fair Band Day felt awesome, but it also felt like we walked into it. We made this. This was us. We played a very big part over the past four years of setting this up. That’s what makes it so cool,” Melton said. 

     Junior Jakub Lawson is the low reed section leader for the Millers. His favorite memory throughout the season is simply the sense of inclusion the band provides to each and every student. 

     “The ‘Be Thou’ today in our warm up circle today was really good. ‘Be Thou My Vision’ is Noblesville’s song in general. It’s the idea of, ‘Once you’ve been in this marching band, you’re always a part of it.’ You made an impact, whether you think so or not, doesn’t matter,” Lawson said. 

     Despite the placing, the Marching Millers have Noblesville students and staffs’ full support. 

     “It takes all of us. We have amazing parental support, and we couldn’t do it without them,” Thornbury said. “Our administration too. Dr. McCaffrey wore his Orpheus show shirt all day on Friday. Our superintendent came last night (to the community and night performance). I don’t think students, or even parents, understand that it’s not like this at other schools. Noblesville is really special.”

     Dacota Hampton, junior and “Hype Crew” leader sees this as an opportunity for the Marching Millers to climb their way to the top and continue making history.

     “I feel wonderful. It was great for this season and we’re well on our way to do better next year,” Hampton said.