GREENFIELD — It was Mackenzie Hardin’s best performance of the season, she said.

As she came off the field Saturday at Pike High School, the Greenfield-Central senior couldn’t stop smiling. And the best news was yet to come. Though she didn’t yet know her marching band would advance to the state finals and take center stage at Lucas Oil Stadium next weekend, Hardin was already looking forward to the night’s awards ceremony.

As a senior, she’d get to be on the field as state finalists were called out.

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The Indiana State School Music Association Class B semistate competition was conducted Saturday at Pike High School in Indianapolis, where 20 other bands, including New Palestine High School’s Marching Dragons, competed for a chance to move on to the final competition. The Greenfield-Central Cougar Pride Marching Band was one of 10 bands in its class to advance to the state finals.

The Cougars are slated to perform at 11:44 a.m. Saturday in Indianapolis. Other bands in the Class B finals are Concord, Jasper, North Side, Munster, Decatur Central, Northview, Evansville North, Bloomington North and Northridge high schools.

The top performing band next weekend will be named the state champion.

Three local bands performed over the weekend for a chance to play at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. Mt. Vernon High School’s marching band performed at the Scholastic Class Finals at Lawrence Central High School. The Marauders competed among 15 other bands for the opportunity to perform in exhibition at the Indiana State Marching Band Finals but was not tapped to move on.

Roughly 150 Greenfield-Central band members, including the color guard, took the field at Pike High School donning brand new uniforms, performing their show, “Outside the Bachs,” which featured new takes on Bach favorites.

As their performance ended, the crowd erupted into cheers.

Ahead of Saturday’s competition, director Chris Wing and other band staff told their kids to give the performance their all; that’s all they could ask. Scoring is subjective, and results aren’t black and white, Wing said.

But on Saturday, their performance was awesome, he said.

“They came off that field loving life,” he said. “I’m proud of them for all their hard work throughout the year.”

Greenfield-Central’s competitive marching band season ends next week. Senior Sam Calvert said he had no doubt he and his fellow band members made the most of their performance Saturday. Last year, the group didn’t advance to semistate, so he was just happy to take the stage among some of the most talented young performers in the state.

It was the first time for the three-year Cougar Pride member.

“You always want to go on to state, but you leave it all on the field,” Calvert said. “You have no complaints.”

Although New Palestine High School’s marching band didn’t advance to state finals, the team’s season isn’t over, and they’re already looking forward to the next chance to perform, said director Shawn Humphries.

The team will perform in two more competitions, including Bands of America, in coming weeks.

The Dragons set the stage Saturday, taking the field first. That’s always hard, Humphries said.

The 80-member band performed “From the Ashes,” a show band members say has improved throughout the season.

As senior Ian Harrington caught his breath after their performance, he said the band would take the results as they were.

“I’m really proud of how much work we’ve done this year,” he said. “We’ve come a long way.”

Emily Bastian, a senior drum major, said the band had great energy Saturday. She hopes they’ll be able to maintain that level as the season goes on.

“This season has been really fun and really enjoyable,” she said. “This is a great group of hardworking kids.”

For the Cougars, Saturday can’t come soon enough.

Wing said at the start of the season, he told his students to perform to the best of their abilities; if they did that, nothing else mattered. So far, the students have risen to the occasion.

“It’s been a great season,” Wing said. “We haven’t had a performance where we were disappointed. It’s hard to ask for much more.”

On to state

The Greenfield-Central Cougar Pride Marching Band was named a state finalist at the Indiana State School Music Association’s Class B semistate competition.

The band moves on to state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.

The Cougars, who take the stage at 11:44 a.m., will compete among nine other schools, with the best performing school being named state champions.

The other Class B state finalists are:

  • Concord High School
  • Jasper High School
  • North Side High School
  • Munster High School
  • Decatur Central High School
  • Northview High School
  • Evansville North High School
  • Bloomington North High School
  • Northridge High School
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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or