• King, queen candidates announced for Snow Whirl

    Every year for the past 30+ years, the music department (band + choir) has hosted Snow Whirl, a themed dance held in the auxiliary gym. And every year, the bands and choirs nominate four senior boys and four senior girls to be finalists for Snow Whirl king and queen.

    The king and queen are crowned after a vote during the dance.

    This year's king candidates are Andrew Roembke, Matthew Rollo, Cody Smitley, and Patrick Watson. Cody Smitley is a choir member; the rest of the boys are in the Wind Ensemble.

    This year's queen candidates are Dakota Fisher, Holly Haney, Betsy McCleery, and Leah Peters. Dakota and Leah are choir members; Holly and Betsy are in the Wind Ensemble.

    Band and choir students also elected undergraduate princes and princesses:

    • Freshmen: Braden Westfall (choir) and Shiloh McFarland (band)
    • Sophomores: Emerson Bridgewater (choir) and Haley Merida (band)
    • Juniors: Jacob Crow (choir) and Dayton Jennings (band)

    Snow Whirl tickets are NOW on sale through Friday, Dec. 8, in the cafeteria during lunch period. Tickets cost $25 each. Snow Whirl itself is 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

    This is the biggest fundraiser for the music department. Proceeds are divided between the bands and choirs.

  • Chinese educators visit band room

    Yesterday, two out-of-town visitors watched the Wind Ensemble rehearse. These visitors were educators from Anshan, China, touring the school to see if they wanted to send exchange students to stay with Mt. Vernon families.

    "The educators have been very impressed with our school," said Mr. Roach, MVHS principal. "They think our teachers and students work hard and are well organized. They have visited some classrooms that are very different than how students are educated in China."

    More information on this visit will appear in the December issue of Musical Notes.

    Two Chinese educators listen in on a Wind Ensemble rehearsal.

  • MVHS students to perform with All-District Honor Band

    Next weekend, 11 MVHS students will perform at the Indiana Bandmasters Association's 18th annual All-District Honor Band Festival.

    The students were selected to participate in the festival after they applied to be in the band back in August. They learned of their selection a few weeks ago.

    The following students—many of the seniors—were selected for the All-District Honor Band: Mary Barnett (12), alto saxophone; Emily Bostrom (12), tenor saxophone; Ethan Cottrell (9), euphonium; Jacob Daswani (12), trombone; Erin Dunn (12), flute and piccolo; Grace Miller (12), percussion; Tara Paarlberg (12), clarinet; Carlie Sanders (10), trumpet; Nikki Schreiner (12), flute; Lauren Vest (12), flute; and Patrick Watson (12), percussion. Last year, only three MVHS students performed with the band.

    The IBA's All-District Honor Band Festival for high-school students opens with a day of rehearsals Saturday at nine different sites around Indiana (the Mt. Vernon students will be at New Castle High School). The band at each site will perform a free concert, open to the public, at 4 p.m. Sunday. Among the songs the band will perform is one commissioned by the IBA for the 2017 festival: "Divertimento for Winds and Percussion" by Ryan Fraley.

    The guest conductor for the All-District Band at New Castle will be Dr. Vu Nguyen, director of bands at the University of Indianapolis.

  • 8th-graders chosen for All-Region Honor Band

    This weekend, 12 students from the 8th Grade Academy will be performing at the Indiana Bandmasters Association's 37th annual All-Region Honor Band Festival.

    The 12 were selected to participate in the festival after they applied to be in the band back in August. They learned of their selection a few weeks ago.

    The following 8th-graders were selected for the All-Region Honor Band: Ella Adams, flute; Daimon Anderson, tuba; Madeline Black, trumpet; Tara Callahan, oboe; Brielle Colter, tenor saxophone; Alexis Gebhart, bass clarinet; Collin Gregory, clarinet; Luke Huff, trombone; Katherine Johnson, flute; Kailee Monroe, clarinet; Ryan Moran, percussion; and Noah Rado, clarinet.

    The IBA's All-Region Honor Band Festival for middle-school students opens with a day of rehearsals Saturday at 14 different sites around Indiana (the Mt. Vernon students will be at Greenfield-Central High School). The band at each site will perform a free concert, open to the public, at 4 p.m. Sunday.

    The guest conductor for the All-Region Honor Band at Greenfield-Central will be John Morse, director of bands at Greenwood High School.

  • Band ends season in the Top 10 at Scholastic Class finals

    Band ends season in the Top 10 at Scholastic Class finals

    The Band of Marauders finished in the Top 10 (out of 17 bands) in Class A at the ISSMA Scholastic Class state finals Oct. 21 at Lawrence Central High School.

    Under ISSMA rules, only Top 5 bands can brag about their specific placement because their rank was announced publicly.

    Overall, it was a good ending to the marching season, and Mr. Ellinger was pleased with the band's performance--and with the large trophy that each band in the finals received. "The students had a very special, memorable day on Saturday and ended it with the best show of the season," he said. "I am very grateful to work with such talented students. Ending in the top 10 is a testament to their hard work!"

    Below: At the finals, the ISSMA asks the seniors of each band to gather on the field for the awards ceremony. This year, the Band of Marauders has 20 seniors.



  • Band gets into #TheZone8 for pep rally, evening news

    Band gets into #TheZone8 for pep rally, evening news

    Like last year's marching season, the Band of Marauders received some TV exposure by performing on WISH-TV Channel 8.

    This year before heading downtown to the studio, the entire band performed for WISH-TV's Anthony Calhoun and the cameras at a tailgate party sponsored by #TheZone8, WISH-TV's news and sports program. The band performed in front of Marauder Stadium before the football team's opening sectional game vs. Shelbyville Oct. 20, and then headed back to the practice lot to continue rehearsing for ISSMA Scholastic Class finals. (The band did not perform during halftime.)

    Later that night, a small group of band members headed to WISH-TV's studio to perform intermittently between 10:45-11:30 p.m. Yes, a late night before the ISSMA Scholastic Class finals...

  • Now the whole school will know...

    Mr. Ellinger, now in his fourth year as director of the Band of Marauders, is incredibly proud of the band's accomplishments. He's so proud, over the summer he requested that the band's ISSMA All-Music Award banners be posted in the school's main hallway.

    Now when students return at the end of Fall Break, they will see these banners right outside the cafeteria.

    "I want to showcase the band's accomplishments to anyone in the main hallway," Mr. Ellinger said. "Mr. Roach [the principal] was happy to approve this!"

    The Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) designates All-Music Awards to school bands that earn gold ratings at the following three ISSMA events:

    • A marching band event: Because the Band of Marauders received a gold rating at the Scholastic Class A preliminaries Oct. 7, it has already started the process to earn another All-Music Award for this school year.
    • Jazz Festival: This past school year, the jazz band received a gold rating in Group II.
    • Organizational Festival: This past school year, both the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band received gold ratings.

    ISSMA also requires that bands have at least one soloist and one ensemble advance to the State Solo & Ensemble contest. Mt. Vernon had five ensembles and 17 soloists qualify for the state finals by earning gold ratings in Group I at the district ISSMA competition Feb. 4.

    If the band fulfills the other three requirements this year, it will receive the All-Music Award for the third year straight. And room is available under the other banners to accommodate that award.


  • Band is finals-bound again!

    Band is finals-bound again!

    For the fourth year straight, the Band of Marauders qualified for the ISSMA Scholastic Class state finals Saturday at Whiteland Community High School.

    Competing in Scholastic Class A, the band earned the coveted gold rating, which by itself qualifies the band for the state finals competition Oct. 21 at Lawrence Central High School. But the band also received With Distinction awards for Visual and Effect for its show, "The Knight."

    "I am extremely proud of the accomplishments by the students at Mt. Vernon," Mr. Ellinger said. "Earning a gold rating is a testament to their hard work. Additionally, earning a With Distinction rating in any category is a challenge, and they achieved this in two!"

    The band's next performance, barring any foul weather, will be Friday at the Mt. Vernon vs. Yorktown home football game, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. The time of the band's state finals performance Oct. 21 will be announced via Twitter and Facebook. #GoMV!

    Mr. Roach, MVHS principal, walks by the band after warmups to wish the students good luck. He stayed for the show and congratulated them afterward for a great performance.





  • Band receives another 2nd-place trophy!

    The temperature Saturday was a vast improvement over the previous two weekends!

    The Band of Marauders continues its march through the competition season with another 2nd-place trophy.

    This time, the trophy came courtesy of the inaugural Zionsville Invitational, in which the band competed in Scholastic Class A. Usually, the band competes in Open Class B at invitationals and switches to Scholastic Class A for the ISSMA state preliminaries and finals. For this invitational, however, Mr. Ellinger switched the band to Scholastic Class A because "we are one week away from state prelims. We wanted to see how we would do competitively against other Scholastic A groups."

    Trophy aside, the performance pleased Mr. Ellinger. "The students did a fine job displaying their talents," he said. "I was glad we were able to put our entire show on the field one week before state prelims. This gave us a good read from the judges on what to improve."

    He noted that throughout the season, every performance has shown improvement from the one before it.

    The band's next competition is the ISSMA Scholastic Class state preliminaries. All that's required for the band to move on to the state finals is to receive a gold rating. The band will perform "The Knight" at 3:07 p.m. at Whiteland Community High School. #GoMarauders!




  • Heat doesn’t keep band from capturing 2nd place at Greenwood Invitational

    Sept. 23 wound up being another unusually hot September Saturday for marching band competitions as the temperature soared into the 90s, but the Band of Marauders prepared for it by hydrating with water and Gatorade leading up to its performance at Greenwood High School.

    That preparation paid off. And it's a good thing, too, considering what happened at a band competition in northern Indiana that weekend. At the 38th annual Greenwood Marching Invitational, not one member of Mt. Vernon's band needed help beyond the copious amounts of water offered by parent volunteers. (As far as we know, no ambulances visited Greenwood to treat overheated students in other bands. The heat was actually worse in northern Indiana!)

    And after a fantastic performance later in the day, the Band of Marauders picked up a 2nd-place trophy in Open Class B.

    "Earning 2nd place mid-season is a great place to be as we get closer to [ISSMA] state prelims," Mr. Ellinger said later. "The students are pushing hard and performing at a high level."

    The Bloomington North Cougar Band captured 1st place in Class B at Greenwood, winning every caption award except best color guard. That caption went to our friends in the New Castle Trojan Band, who placed 3rd. But how was Mt. Vernon able to place higher than New Castle, if Mt. Vernon didn't get any caption awards?

    "It all boils down to the math behind the scoring system," Mr. Ellinger explained. "Two groups may score high in some captions and lower in others, scoring 1st in some and 3rd in others. If we are 2nd across the board, it puts us over one of the groups."

    Also important is that the scores for the guard and percussion caption awards aren't factored into the overall score. "They are scored only for comments and for the chance to win the caption award," he said.

    This coming Saturday, the band will compete in Scholastic Class A at the inaugural Zionsville Invitational Marching Band Competition. This will be the last invitational before the ISSMA Scholastic Class state preliminaries. "We plan on performing our full show for the first time this Saturday at the Zionsville invitational," Mr. Ellinger said. "We are very excited!"