New take on Wizard of Oz sees Knox Marching Band to Semi-Finals

The color guard practice their moves for the Knox Marching Band's upcoming perfomance on Oct. 31
Rachael Herbert-Varchetto

The Knox Marching Band is heading to Marching Band Semi-Finals Oct. 31 with a twist on an old classic.
The marching boasts 90 members for this year, one of the largest bands the school has had since 2007.
"This year's show is a bit of a tribute really," said Music Director and Instructor Craige Phipps. "Every year, Kathy Howard as always asked me to do a Wizard of Oz show."
In the past, Phipps has been reluctant to do the show because of some technical issues.
Howard has been involved with the marching band for many years.
"I never wanted to do a WIzard of Oz show because I don't like marching shows that are character driven, because you have to follow characters around on a field and it's really hard," he explained.
Going to his staff, he requested a different take on the American classic on the little girl swept into a magical land by a cyclone.
"If you guys really want to do a Wizard of Oz show, you need to pitch me something that is not Wizard of Oz this is a Wizard of Oz show," he said.
Citing the concept of "Wicked" as a different take on the tale, the staff put their noggins together and noodled out a plan.
"One of the staff members said when Dorothy lands in Oz, she takes the yellow road, but she could have taken the red road. So what's down the red road? And that's pretty much our show," said Phipps.
The show incorporates Mozart, the theme from "Requiem For a Dream", Adele's "Turning Tables", as well as the old favorite of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
Among the usual challenges of a large band, the show utilizes two large gym-floor sized tarps.
"That's a new challenge for us. The largest tarp we'd ever done before was maybe half the size of a gym floor. So to do two tarps that are full size has been really a big challenge," said Phipps.
To see the band perform, semi-finals will take place Oct. 31 at Franklin High School, just south of Indianapolis. The day will begin at 9 a.m. CST, 10 a.m. EST. Knox will perform at 4:46 p.m. CST.
Pick up the Nov. 5 edition of the Starke County Leader for an exclusive on the Knox Marching Band after semi-finals.