Carmel HS marching band celebrates victory at Bands of America Grand National Championships

Photo of the Carmel High School marching band. (Provided Photo/Carmel Clay Schools)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The Carmel High School Marching Band is celebrating this week. They were named the 2017 Bands of America Grand National Champions for the second year in a row.

In addition to that championship, they swept three different categories: Best Music Performance, Best Visual Performance and Best General Effect.

This was the first time that has ever happened at the Band of America finals, according to Carmel’s band director.

The band also had an undefeated season for the first time in school history.

Their success has taken a lot of work.

Tracey Lewis has spent hours perfecting the clarinet.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Lewis.

Robert Wood has worked hard mastering the trumpet.

“During the summer, it was about 11 to 10 hour days almost every single day after school. It was 45 minutes before school, and 2 hours and 15 minutes after school,” said Wood.

“Oh boy, quite a lot,” said drum major Alexis Noriot about the time she’s spent leading the marching band.

“Coming to practice early and staying late, making sure everyone is there on time for rehearsal,” she said.

“They work very hard. I think they spent a total of 493 hours in rehearsal this year over about 200 days between May and now,” said band director Chris Kreke.

That doesn’t include the time they spend performing and perfecting the show they put on to compete against 99 other bands in the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

“We placed first in semifinals which is honestly such a blessing again, and then we went to finals after that and for our last performance of the season and performed there,” said Noriot.

They performed and won.

“As we were announced as the winner, everyone was just looking around in shock,” said Wood.

“When they called us for national champion, I looked to my left and it was one of my friends and we just couldn’t stop smiling at each other the whole time and then when he said, ‘Break ranks,’ I bawled, I was in tears. We said ‘We’re grand champions again’! said Lewis.

“It was the greatest feeling like every moment leading up to that, all the hard working, the long practice hours, the draining hours, the missing many academic assignments, everything started to really pay off,” said Noriot.

493 plus hours of work later, champions once again.