Northstars ready to turn Indy purple and white
Marching band heads to Grand National Championships
Emma Sadler and the Waukesha North Marching Band know the lights will be brighter, the stage will be bigger and that the next performance marks a sense of finality.
However, leading up to the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, the objective is clear.
"We continue to strive for our level of perfection each and every day," said Sadler, a senior color guard captain. "We know we're not the team to beat, but we still know we can make a mark."
The Northstar Band, which consists of 160 members, can leave this mark when it takes the field at 5:45 p.m. CST Friday inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
If North advances past the preliminary round, it will perform in the semifinals on Saturday. The top 12 scoring bands advance to Saturday night's championship finals.
"Every single person needs to buy into our show," said Sadler. "If we all believe in what we are doing, then I know we can make the audience and the judges not only understand our show, but also see how well we can execute it."
In elite company
North is just one of two schools from Wisconsin - Greendale is the other - in the national competition that awards the winner a spot in the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Since the Northstars performed at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis last year and with this year's North squad having already competed in another NFL stadium (Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis) for a Super Regional a few weeks ago, Sadler said the team is ready for this weekend's show.
"Having previous experience in Indy and St. Louis will help our performance be better on Friday," Sadler said. "You can't replicate the feeling you get when taking the field in a setting like those. So now that our band as a whole has that experience, there won't be any surprises."
Another banner year
While North is one of 92 schools in the competition, no one should be surprised if the Northstars don't put forth a sparkling performance inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
North enters the national competition on the heels of winning its sixth straight AAAA (large school) Wisconsin School Music Association State Marching Band championship last month at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Director of Bands Greg Redner said success has become contagious.
"Tradition drives theensemble," said Redner, a 2004 Waukesha North graduate. "They identify with the successes of the past and want to achieve that at a higher performance level."
Ready for prime time
Sadler explained that while capturing band titles is nice, it's not necessarily the No. 1 goal.
"Winning state, or any competition for that matter, has and never will be our objective," Sadler said. "Our goal is to produce our best show possible each time we perform it and be proud of what we showcase to our audience."
But playing at a 70,000-seat stadium will require a different mind-set.
"Nothing compares to performing at a big-time stadium, especially Lucas Oil," Sadler said. "I can't even compare it to performing at a local high school because there are no comparisons to make.
"The feeling is unreal, and I am so glad our band has the chance to experience it."
A diverse group
Redner said it costs each band member $400 to go on the two-night trip. The band holds fundraisers during the year to help defray costs.
"We are the most diverse, yet the most similar group of people you will find at Waukesha North," Sadler said. "We are a combination of athletes, musicians, artists, dancers, bookworms and so much more. Yet, we all still have a common goal of creating something wonderful."
Doing so in Indianapolis, Sadler explained, will require excellent timing, having the same step size and staying in sync.
"As a whole marching band, I think everyone is really pumped for our biggest and last performance," said a very excited Sadler. "We have put so much into this program and everyone is ready to show the country what we're made of."
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