First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a high-place finish in the “Super Bowl” of high school marching band competitions.
That’s how the story went for the Mason High School marching band, whose performance of a slapstick comedy about marriage called “‘Till Death Do Us Part” earned the band a sixth place finish at Bands of America Grand National Championships.
The 311-member Mason band was the only Ohio band among the top 12 bands to compete Sunday in the Grand National Championship.
This year’s performance saw the band trending on Twitter as #thatweddingband.
The wedding-themed show featured color guard members dressed as brides toting 50 life-sized inflatable grooms in tuxedos and choreography that included hearts, bells and wedding rings, along with the words, “Just Married” and “I Love You.”
“Our show was about the ups and downs of marriage,” explained senior field commander Allie Kenneally.
“The first movement started out with just married, the second is all about the love and the third movement is almost to a funny level where things are being thrown. I could hear the whole crowd cracking up and laughing,” she said.
The light-hearted number proved to be technically challenging for band members, said Kenneally.
After consulting with experts, the band changed significant parts of its show in the two weeks before competition — all while students prepared for final exams.
“This was the most difficult show partly because we learned so much drill in such a short amount of time,” said Kenneally. “We used forms that were hard to get to physically and the music was in two different time signatures.”
While the band doesn’t set competitive goals, Mason band director Bob Bass said members were hopeful for repeat success.
The band, which has held the title of the top-placing Ohio band for the past three years, finished in eighth place last year and in tenth place in 2011.
“The show was slow in development and it all came together in the last two weeks,” he said. “When we got to Grand Nationals, we were stunned at how good it was.”
“It was so much fun watching the kids work so hard and then see what happens when you work that hard,” he said. “It made the show come alive and I could not have been happier.”