On Friday, November 6, the St. Edward Marching Eagles drove to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in OMEA State Finals Competition, where they received a Superior (1) rating. This is the climax of the marching band season, when the best bands in Ohio perform for nine judges for a chance to receive a superior rating.
A Superior state rating is the highest achievement that any marching band can receive in competition. The rating system utilized at marching band competitions is a scale of one to five, with one as the best possible rating and five as the worst rating. To qualify for the state finals, a marching band must receive a Superior rating at any local marching band competition. Qualifying for state finals is an accomplishment alone.
This year’s show was “Mask,” which was conceived by director, Robert W. Burns. The music and drill was written by Mr. Burns, with percussion by William Etling and Brian Bennett. Guard work was directed by José Ayala. The band had performed this show at five separate local competitions and had received an overall rating of Excellent (2) at the first three and an overall rating of Superior (1) at the last two. Once the band received an overall rating of 1 at its fourth competition, it had qualified for state finals competition. Twenty six days of intense rehearsals prepared the band for Columbus, as did the words of Mr. Burns, “It is not the destination, but rather the journey that makes life worthwhile.”
The judging system used for the state competition is much more intense than that found at local competitions. Every band that goes to states has earned a superior rating at a local competition, so the judges at state finals expect perfection before awarding a marching band a Superior rating. Every step a marcher takes needs to be precise and the music has to be in perfect pitch.
The last time the Marching Eagles received a Superior rating was in 2005. For the musicians, while their “journey” may have been worthwhile, their “destination” proved to be “superior.”