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Farmington, Farmington Hills

Farmington, Harrison march to statewide competition

November 28, 2012

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The Harrison High School marching band performs at the Michigan Competing Band Association’s Championship Contest Nov. 3 at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Farmington High School marching band placed fifth at the Michigan Competing Band Association’s Championship Contest Nov. 3.

DETROIT — The grounds on which the Detroit Lions play home football games became a music mecca when high school marching bands from around the state congregated at Ford Field Nov. 3.

The marching bands — including those of Farmington and Harrison high schools — tuned up their instruments to participate in the Michigan Competing Band Association’s Championship Contest. It was an honor for the talented students to make it to the finals, and it also showed off their hard work and dedication to their craft.

“It was wonderful to see the kids and the show they were doing,” said Bernadette Carter, whose son, Kevin, plays trombone in the Harrison High School marching band. He first picked up the instrument in the fifth grade.

“If you get a good enough score, you go to Ford Field,” said Jim Liska, a parent of the Farmington High School Band Booster group. His daughter, Lucy, a sophomore, is a member of the school’s color guard. “That’s where you want to end up. There’s a true sense of accomplishment.”

At finals, the bands were divided between Flight I, Flight II, Flight III or Flight IV categories, with 12 bands in each flight. Both Harrison and Farmington competed in Flight II.

Harrison placed fourth with a score of 78.15. Farmington placed fifth with a score of 78.00. With a score of 89.30, Jenison High School placed first in Flight II.

Both the Harrison and Farmington students began preparing for marching band season in late spring/early summer. Practice included learning the music and the marching patterns.

This year, the Harrison High School theme was “Come Fly With Me,” with music from composer David Holsinger’s “To Tame the Perilous Skies.” The Farmington High School’s show centered around the music of “KÀ” from “Cirque du Soleil” this season.

“They worked really hard. They’re a special club,” Liska said. “There is a lot of bonding that goes on. They worked together as a team. They’re so disciplined.”

The marching bands competed at various competitions that led up to the Michigan Competing Band Association’s Championship Contest. Before the season began, the musicians also gathered at band camp to set the tone for the school year. 

The Harrison students followed the lead of senior drum major Nate Williams. Carmen Plain and Leslie Ventura were this year’s color guard captains, and Peter Romero and Michelle Betman were the school’s field commanders. 

Farmington’s senior drum major was Rachel Chacko, and Elise Newcomer filled the shoes of the junior drum major. Lindsay Haas was the school’s senior color guard captain, and Abby Harmon served as the junior color guard captain.

Family and friends came out to Ford Field for the event.

“There’s a big audience, and the sound fills the entire room,” Liska said.

Michael Steele is the Farmington High School Marching Band director. Joel Yoder directs the Harrison High School Marching Band.

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