Prospect's Marching Knights place fifth in regional competition

The haunting melody of the French ballad “La Vie en Rose,” written in a cafe along the Champs-Elysées in Paris more than 70 years ago, hardly sounds like the stuff of an award-winning marching band program.

But in the hands of Prospect High School's Marching Knights, it delivered.

The 180 Marching Knights members competed late last month in the Bands of America Powder Springs Regional competition in Atlanta, which draws top marching bands from across the Southeast.

“It's hard to say for certain what worked with this program, but a lot of our music this year was pretty melodic and we said all year it was hummable,” says Chris Barnum, director of bands at Prospect.

In the Class 3A preliminary competition in Atlanta, they took third place overall behind two Georgia schools — second-place Kennesaw Mountain High School and first-place Harrison High School.

Their third place in prelims was good enough to secure a spot as one of the 10 bands to advance to the finals, where they ultimately placed fifth. The first-place band was Wando High School from South Carolina.

“When we found out we made finals, we weren't caught up in our placement and score,” says one of the drum majors, senior Rebecca Rose of Mount Prospect. “We were just happy that we got to perform our show for a great audience and were able to leave everything on the field one last time.”

The Knights began rehearing the show at two separate band camps last summer, and then nearly every day after school throughout the fall.

“Throughout it all, the band showed much improvement, attentiveness, and everyone had the drive to have a great show and season,” Rose adds.

Prospect has a long history of competing. Traditionally, they start out in early September at the Lake Park Joust in Roselle. This year “La Vie en Rose” swept all categories — music performance, visual performance and visual effect — to take first place.

They also competed in the marching band championships at Illinois State University, where they placed fifth. Their season concluded, as it often does, at a Bands of America regional competition.

“This is the first time we have attended this specific regional, and we knew there would be a lot of great bands down there,” Barnum adds. “It was really nice to be included in the group of finalists.”

Rose says placing among the top five — and seeing many of Atlanta's highlights — was a win-win for the band. During their stay, they toured the Martin Luther King and World of Coca-Cola museums, as well as the Aquarium and CNN's studios, where they met Carl Azuz, Student News anchor.

“Experiencing new places with the band was so memorable because we made the most of it,” Rose says. “I didn't remember a time where a single person wasn't smiling, laughing, and just taking it all in.”

Barnum says he is more than pleased with his band students after this successful band season.

“The students worked really hard on a challenging show and they were well-received throughout the season,” he says. “I was really proud of their work.”

The Prospect Marching Knights traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, the weekend of Oct. 27 to compete in the Bands of America Powder Springs Regional competition. Their performance of "La Vie en Rose" ultimately earned them fifth place. Courtesy of District 214
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