Johnson places 8th in "Super Bowl" of marching bands
Last month the Johnson High School Band made history. Despite opening just four years ago, Johnson High was able to secure a great achievement by being named a Bands of America Grand National Finalist during a two-day nationwide competition in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Johnson finished in eighth place overall in this competition, often considered the “Super Bowl” for high school marching bands. During a preliminary competition Nov. 11, 93 bands performed and competed for 30 spots in the semifinals. From there, the top 12 bands earned positions in the Nov. 12 finals competition, one that showcased the finest high school marching bands in the country.
Traditionally, bands from Texas that compete at Grand Nationals attend every other year, or every third year, due to the expense of traveling up to Indianapolis. This year, Houston’s Woodlands High and Spring High School bands represented Texas along with North East ISD’s Johnson High. Johnson’s success this weekend continues the school district’s rich heritage of Grand National Finalists. Reagan High School finished in 11th place during its first trip to Nationals in 2002 and was in second place on returning trips in 2003 and 2005. Churchill High School has attended nationals five times, finishing ninth twice and 10th twice.
"Johnson’s eighth place finish at nationals as a four-year-old program is especially impressive given the history of the other finalists at the competition," says Jarret Lipman, Johnson band director.
During the finals awards Johnson was recognized as the youngest school in finals, placing ahead of former Grand National Champion Lawrence Central High School (ninth place) from Indianapolis, Mason High School from Ohio (10th), Lafayette High School from Louisiana and Wando High School from South Carolina (12th). The bands who finished ahead of Johnson are perennial Grand National finalists, with Broken Arrow High School from Oklahoma winning the 2011 Grand National Championships.
The Johnson Band has been recognized by judges as an "exciting new face" in the Bands of America Circuit and has been praised for a “fresh” and “creative” approach to design and performance. In addition to a successful finish overall, the Johnson Band also took home a perfect percussion score in the contest. "Congratulations to the drum line, front ensemble, Percussion Director Manny Maldonado and Instructor Kris Hartman on this exciting accomplishment," adds Lipman.
The Johnson Band’s competitive show for 2011 was entitled “Lincolnshire Posy: A Collection of Musical Wild Flowers” and featured the music of composers Percy Grainger and Carol Brittin Chambers. The performance brought to life a variety of English folksongs set for band by Grainger and adapted for marching band through Chamber’s brilliant arrangement. Through the use of color and flower motifs throughout the show, the band paid homage to its namesake Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson and her work with wild flowers.
Prior to traveling to Indianapolis, Johnson competed at the Bands of America Houston Regional and Bands of America San Antonio Super Regional where it placed sixth and fifth respectively, the highest finishes in school history and in NEISD for the 2011 season. In addition, the band competed at the Woodlands High School Band’s Lone Star Preview Competition in mid-October, where they were named Grand Champion overall and took home the award for Best Music in the show.
The Johnson Band is under the direction of Lipman, with assistance from Alan Sharps, Manny Maldonado, Darryl Pemberton and Kris Hartman. The band is made-up of 196 woodwind, brass, percussion and color guard students in grades nine through 12.
Congratulations Johnson High School Band!!
Article courtesy of www.neisd.net.