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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Following history with NMK

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Members of the Northview Marching Knights' percussion unit warm up prior to a halftime performance of a NHS football game earlier this season. The Marching Knights will compete in the Indiana State School Music Association State Finals Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. [Order this photo]
For three decades, Clay County high school bands have entertained residents.

They've given residents a reason to be proud.

In 1981, the Brazil Red Devils advanced to the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) State Finals.

The Red Devils also advanced to the State Finals in 1982 and 1983, coming away with first-place finishes in Class C.

In 1984, after Northview High School was born, the Marching Knights have made advancing to the state finals a yearly thing.

In fact, NMK has advanced to the state finals every year since 1984 with the exception of 1986.

For some, the Marching Knights have made it to the state finals every year since they have been alive.

I didn't grow up in Clay County. I grew up in Owen County.

I was in band and the Marching Patriots were very aware of how good the Marching Knights were.

I know my band director did his student teaching under NMK Director Bob Medworth and I'm quite certain he patterned his way of teaching and conducting practices straight from what he witnessed when working with Medworth.

The one constant since 1981 in regard to the Brazil-Northview band program has been Medworth.

Since 1984, Northview has placed in the top five Class B bands a total of 25 times. Only once, in 1984, did they not finish among the top 10.

Northview has amassed eight Class B state titles, the last coming in 2009.

And come this Saturday, the Marching Knights will have another opportunity to compete for a state title.

The ISSMA State Finals will take place Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

Once again, 10 bands in each of four classes will attempt to win it all.

And once again, the Northview Marching Knights are among the 10 Class B bands taking part.

ISSMA Class B competition will begin at 1 p.m. Northview is scheduled to compete at 2:46 p.m.

Other Class B bands competing include Greenwood (1:15 p.m.), Plainfield (1:28 p.m.), DeKalb (1:41 p.m.), Munster (1:54 p.m.), Goshen (2:07 p.m.), North Side (2:20 p.m.), Concord (2:33 p.m.), Jasper (2:59 p.m.), and Floyd Central (3:12 p.m.).

Watching the Marching Knights go through a practice brings back a lot of memories.

Not too long ago, I took my son to check out a practice. We don't live that far from the school and can hear the band practicing when we're outside.

James David absolutely loves music so I figured, why not? He'd enjoy it.

He did.

He was mesmerized by the instruments, the marching, the movement.

The entire time we watched the band practice, he couldn't take his eyes off the students.

I think he's hooked.

We approached as they were taking a break. I wanted James David to meet Bob Medworth.

He greeted us and let James David wear his hat for a couple of seconds.

James David's smile grew so big.

Again, I think he's hooked.

Which is fine with me.

I'd love to see my son enjoy a life of playing a musical instrument.

I am aware the possibility of James David being taught music by Bob Medworth is pretty slim, but that would be a treat.

People like Bob Medworth and the staff surrounding him are the type of teachers Clay County should be proud of.

Sure, practices are difficult. Sometimes, those students probably leave thinking, "it's not worth it."

But it's hard to argue with the end results, which include 11 total first-place finishes (1982, 1983, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009), one sixth-place finish, seven fourth-place finishes, one third-place finish, two fifth-place finishes and seven second-place finishes.

The only Class B band to taste that kind of success other than Northview are the Greenwood Marching Woodmen, who have won 11 Class B championships since 1983.

But this isn't Greenwood.

This is Brazil. This is Clay County.

We're talking about the Marching Knights.

Good luck Saturday, Northview. Clay County is rooting for you.