Golden Eagle bands performance is breakthrough

Anna Rosati, field commander for the Madison-Plains marching band, poses with two of four first-place trophies the band took home from a recent compe-tition. Rosati earned one of the awards herself by registering one of the highest field commander scores in the Ohio Music Education Association’s history.

After finishing last in their first two contests, the Madison-Plains High School marching band rededicated themselves to a higher level of performance and discipline.

It worked. On Oct. 4, the Golden Eagles beat out Newton High School by the slimmest of margins—six-tenths of a point on a 300-point scale—to take first in their division at the Preview of Champions at Thomas-Worthington High School.

The victory was sweet for many reasons, said director Derek Scoles.

“The other three schools in our category—Newton, Lehman Catholic and Waterford—always qualify for state. Newton has gone to state the last 30 years,” he said.

“Our motivation this week was to seek revenge over Newton who beat us by 14 points the week before at the Grove City contest.”
Beyond revenge, the deeper motivation was pride.

“We are now considered a threat among bands our size,” Scoles said. “It used to be that Madison-Plains was laughed at. People would’ve placed all the other schools ahead of us by a long shot.”

Just last month, judges at two previous contests said Madison-Plains was a well trained band but lacked confidence and passion. Those comments stoked the fire, as did laps run in subsequent practices for every missed note or missed step-off.

Following the Thomas Worthington performance, the response from the judges and the crowd was much different.

“Other band directors who saw our show said it was the best performance they’ve seen from Madison-Plains in the last 12 years,” Scoles said.

They were right. Madison-Plains’ score of 225 out of 300 was the highest score the band has received since 1996.

But that’s not all. The Eagles’ breakthrough performance also garnered first-place honors for percussion, auxiliary (color guard), and field commander. In fact, Anna Rosati’s score of 97 out of 100 in the field commander category is one of the highest scores recorded in the history of contests sanctioned by the Ohio Music Education Association—for any size school.

“The next closest score was an 86 out of 100,” Scoles said of the Thomas Worthington contest. “Anna blew them out of the water.”
The first-place finishes in the bonus categories came as a surprise, he added.

“It is very rare when a band sweeps the board and gets them all. Usually, one band is really well known for their percussion section. Another one is especially good at auxiliary, and another has a great field commander.”

Madison-Plains’ band during the competition.

The overall performance should serve as a confidence booster for the relatively young band, which is made up of several freshmen and sophomores. They’ll need it as they pursue their next goal—qualification to state.

To make the big show, a band must receive superior scores from at least five of the nine judges and excellent scores from the remaining judges at one contest during the season. Scoles said Madison-Plains’ performance at Thomas Worthington was about 15 numeric points shy of superior.

It will be a challenge to make that 15-point leap, he said, but not impossible; Madison-Plains’ score improved 19 points from the Grove City contest to the Thomas Worthington contest.

Madison-Plains has two more chances to achieve state qualification—at Teays Valley on Oct. 11 and at Copley on Oct. 18.
Scoles is excited about the turn-around the band has experienced.

“We’re really making headway. We’re opening people’s eyes again that we’re back into it,” he said.

On Nov. 6, the band will host an appreciation concert for their fans at 7 p.m. in the high school gym. The program will feature several songs and routines from the 2008 marching band season.

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