Young musicians from throughout the region returns to Lucas Oil Stadium as 98 high school marching bands from 18 states from across the country will compete in the 2021 Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha and the U.S. Marines. Bands of America Championships are the premier marching band events in the nation and are entertaining, family-friendly events featuring live music, choreography, and competition. Competing bands will travel to Indianapolis from throughout Indiana and from Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The Bands of America Grand National Championships will feature two days of preliminary competition. Performances are evaluated by a panel of nationally recognized music educators and marching band experts. Up to 38 bands may advance to Saturday's Semi-Finals competition; the top 12 scoring bands will advance to Saturday evening's Finals competition. The event will also feature exhibition performances by the college marching bands from Murray State University, Miami University, and Rutgers University.
The Grand National Championships culminate the 2021 season of 22 Bands of America marching band championships across the country. Bands of America Championships returned in 2021 after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the start of the 2021 season in September, the last full in-person event Music for All held was the Grand National Championships in November 2019. "The enthusiastic return of the bands performing at this championship is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and hard work of these young student musicians, their teachers, school administrators, parents, and families," says Dr. Jeremy Earnhart, President and CEO of Music for All.
Music for All, a non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization, has been creating, providing, and expanding positively life-changing experiences through music for all for school music ensembles, students, and teachers since 1975.
"Music for All is about building leaders and celebrating teachers. The Bands of America Grand National Championships is a celebration of music education at its finest, showcasing the excellence, teamwork, and student leadership of the region's outstanding marching bands," says Earnhart. "These young performers and their achievements advocate for the importance of music education in schools locally and nationwide."
"Music and arts involvement teaches youth many skills necessary to succeed in life, including problem-solving and decision-making, building self-confidence and self-discipline, personal responsibility, teamwork, and more," says Earnhart. "Research shows attendance and graduation rates are higher for students who participate in their school music programs. The College Entrance Examination Board found that students involved in public school music programs scored, on average, 107 points higher on the SATs than students with no participation."
Indianapolis band, orchestra, and choir students from Arsenal Tech High School, Crispus Attucks High School, George Washington High School, and Shortridge High School will perform together in special exhibition as the Indianapolis Public Schools Music Showcase on Thursday, November 11, during the Grand Nationals Prelims.
Friday evening's festivities will include the presentation of the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award, a national award honoring an outstanding band parent and supporter and named in honor of Louisville resident Patrick John Hughes. Mr. Hughes is co-author with his son Patrick Henry of "I Am Potential."
Thursday's preliminary competition begins at 8:45 a.m., gates open at 8 a.m. Friday's Preliminary competition begins at 7 a.m., gates open at 6:15 a.m. Saturday's Semi-Finals begins at 7 a.m., gates open at 6:15 a.m. Finalists will be announced during the Semi-Finals Awards Ceremony at approximately 5 p.m. Gates re-open for Finals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. All times are tentative, pending the final schedule of performing bands.
Tickets: $29 and up.