Skip To Main Content

School Header

Logo Container




Search Button

Trigger Container


Lakota Bands Celebrate First Joint “Bands of America” Grand National Semifinals

Lakota Bands Celebrate First Joint “Bands of America” Grand National Semifinals

The Lakota East and Lakota West high school marching bands recently returned from making district history, qualifying for the first time together for the “Bands of America” Grand National Semi-finals. Before their departure, the bands held a joint showcase send-off for the entire "WE are Lakota" community to celebrate their shared accomplishment. The bands were two of only 30 to qualify out of approximately 100 involved in the preliminary round and thousands in the prior regional competitions.

Held in Indianapolis’s famed Lucas Oil Stadium, the pressure of competing in the semi-finals competition was described as incredible. "The bands were to be compared to the other fantastic programs throughout the country,” said West Band Director Andrew Carr.

Both bands spent thousands of hours working toward this moment, he said, to perform in front of over 200,000 spectators. East and West both fell short of advancing to the finals, placing 27th and 28th, respectively. However, upon their return, West senior Abigail O’Rourke said they were greeted like heroes returning from battle. “We worked so hard for this and I will never forget the feeling I got when I found out all this hard work paid off.”

Carr believes that the students were what made the performance truly incredible. “The special thing this time was the commitment the kids had to performing this show…we asked the kids to be in character throughout…and they really brought it into the show and really maximized the enjoyment of watching the show,” he said. Both shows were even praised by the Lakota West Red Sea Leaders as “stellar performances.”

The two shows, East’s "La Lune" and West’s "Nocturnal Creatures," were praised for their difficulty level throughout the marching band season. Both contain a wide range of music, in genre and time period, and according to their respective leaders, require constant dedication and performance from every member. 

East’s show focuses on the beauty and grace of the cosmos, particularly Earth’s moon. The band and color guard were challenged throughout the nine-minute show to maintain tranquil, elegant, flowing movements. The show highlighted the beauty of the moon via twelve moving props, each depicting a different moon phase, as well as a smaller, basketball-sized moon that is passed around throughout the performance. Featuring works from Claude Debussy’s “Clair De Lune” (1890) to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To the Moon” (1964), the show was a reminder of the moon’s timeless enchantment. 

West’s show followed a much more ominous theme. It focused on the unexpected beauty of the wild and primitive creatures of the night. From the moment they enter the field to the moment the lead drum major turns to the crowd and signals the end of the performance, the band and color guard took on the demeanor of a primal beast. With fourteen crescent moons, an assortment of flags and rifles for the color guard, and approximately 250 members, this show tested the limits of directors and performers alike.

  • Band