PLYMOUTH — The Pride of Plymouth’s trip to the state finals in Indianapolis Saturday stirred a lot of interest and pride in the community. The band had made it to the semi-state level for two of the last three years, but this was their first trip to the finals.
Out of the 10 bands competing in its class, the Plymouth band of 117 members ranked fifth.
Director Bryan Ames said Plymouth was the only first-time band competing.
“To be in the top five was pretty incredible,” he said. “It was also pretty cool to stand at attention in front of the entire crowd at the awards ceremony. Our goal was to at least finish in the top five and we did.”
Ames said he couldn’t believe that Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter read a proclamation to honor the band at a pep rally Friday night. He was equally as thrilled with the supportive comments made by PHS football coach John Barron at the rally.
Also with much pride in the band’s success was Ruth Weist, grandmother of senior Kelly Weist. She began helping alter uniforms, sewing flags for the color guard, volunteering at the Fall Festival and helping with the summer band camp eight years ago.
She said she started when her granddaughter Ruthann was in the band, stayed on as Kelly participates, and plans to keep volunteering as long as the band needs her.
After the band’s finish Saturday, she said, “This was their best performance ever.”
Weist was just one of many from Plymouth watching the performance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Band Boosters President Ellen Weist said, “I’m glad the band members got the recognition they deserve. The kids in our community are the tops.”
Ellen Weist expressed her strong desire to thank the community for their support. “Coming out Friday night to watch the band perform before going to state was so great for the kids,” she said. Her gratitude extended to all of the parents who have helped throughout the entire year.
As with any extra-curricular activity at the high school, expenses are put on the shoulders of the participants and supported by fundraisers.
Wednesday night, Plymouth Schools Superintendent Dan Tyree passed along some good news to the band.
“A local resident is helping finance the travel downstate,” he said, adding congratulations to the band members along with some advice: “Do what you’ve done all along — but do it better. Keep your eye on the prize and bring it home.”
Senior band member Katelynn Brashere called the opportunity “really special.”
“The bands before us had set the goal,” she said, “and we were under the pressure to get it accomplished.”
Fellow senior Erika Peterson began playing her clarinet in sixth grade. Heading to state gave her the opportunity to use her skills. Like her fellow band and color guard members, Peterson said, “It’s really an all-band effort.”
Although only a junior, Adam Fish had been planning ahead to compete at the top all year long. He said, “I’ve been to winter performance and ensemble contests, but this is the first time we were heading to the state contest as marching band.” Fish is the section leader for the flutes.
But the directors know that making this trip as well as other contests would not be possible without the support of parent and others volunteers. Ames continues to thank all of the band supporters for taking care of providing meals, snacks, equipment storing and moving, and other necessities to the band.
Parent Karen Gosky who moved here two years ago with her husband and two teenagers is extremely grateful for the band program. She said, “From the beginning, the band experience for my kids Kent and Holly has been fantastic and indescribable.” She also shared her gratitude for the Band Boosters.
William Fox is just one of the parents who to prepare the inside of the tractor trailer for the trip. Fox said he has been doing this for four years starting when his daughter Crystal was in the band and now with daughter Tara who is in the Color Guard.
Ames said, “This was a good way to end our season.”