Top 10 Marching Moments of 2008: Details, Photos and Videos

Based on reader suggestions, our editorial staff put together Halftime Magazine’s first annual Top 10 Marching Moments of the Year. 2008 was a great year in the marching arts from coast-to-coast, and here are some of our favorite moments:

10. Bethune Cookman “Obama Drill”
9. United Percussion Spinning Gyroscope
8. ESPN Battle of the Bands
7. Cavaliers Alumni Corps
6. Avon’s loss at Indiana State Championships and comeback to win BOA Grand Nationals
5. Flanagan’s win at WGI Scholastic World
4. Ohio State School for the Blind selection for the 2010 Rose Parade
3. Debut of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band
2. U.S. Olympic Orchestra performance in Tiananmen Square

and (drum roll, please) …

1. Phantom Regiment’s DCI comeback and win

10. Bethune Cookman “Obama Drill”

Although the Bethune-Cookman University Marching Wildcats weren’t the only ones celebrating the election of President Obama, they may have been the loudest. The college marching band from Daytona Beach, Fla., made a big splash when it formed a portrait of the President-Elect on the field during a game against Florida A&M on Nov. 22.

Bethune-Cookman Obama drill
Photo courtesy of Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats. 

United Percussion mesmerized indoor percussion audiences all year with its spinning gyroscope drum rack. Tenor player Jeff Bickford played a 20-second tenor feature at the show’s finale all while spinning upside down and sideways! In 2007, the group used three rotating drum racks that were able to spin upside-down, but this year’s improved design spun in all directions to appear like the chemical symbol for “Fusion,” the show’s title.

United Percussion gyroscope
Photo courtesy of WGI Sport of the Arts
and Jolesch Photography, www.jolesch.com

8. ESPN Battle of the Bands

The LSU Tiger Marching Band won the ESPN contest, which netted the group a $25,000 award. ESPN featured marching bands from seven top schools as they performed the theme from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Entries were aired during College Football Live, and ESPN featured LSU’s winning performance on its College GameDay broadcast.

ESPN Battle of the Bands Quest for the Crystal Skull logo 

 

7. Cavaliers Alumni Corps

 The Cavaliers Alumni Corps celebrated the Cavaliers’ 60th anniversary in style, featuring an enthusiastic drum solo by Sam Geati during “Sing, Sing, Sing,” who performed the same song with the corps in the 1950s. The group’s passion clearly moved the audience, which leapt to its feet with applause at the finale.

Cavaliers 60th Anniversary Alumni Corps drum major Hartowicz
Photo by Jolesch Photography, www.jolesch.com.

6. Avon’s loss at Indiana State Championships and comeback to win BOA Grand Nationals

After winning the ISSMA Class A State Championships five years in a row, the Avon Marching Band came in second in 2008 … by a tenth of a point! The group didn’t give up, though, instead coming out with a vengeance at Bands of America Grand Nationals and posting a winning score of 97.75—the highest score in BOA history.

Avon High School Marching Black and Gold 
Photo by Ken Martinson, Marching.com.

5. Flanagan’s win for WGI Scholastic World

The Flanagan World Guard from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., became the first group to break the stranglehold that James Logan High School has had on the activity for years. How many years? Try 10 World Championships in a row from 1998 to 2007. The caveat? James Logan didn’t compete last year. Look for a showdown between the two groups in 2009 when they meet at World Championships.

Flanagan World Guard
Photo courtesy of WGI Sport of the Arts. 

4. Ohio State School for the Blind selection for the 2010 Rose Parade

Imagine the difficulty of waking at 4 a.m. to march in a 6.5 mile parade in the hot Pasadena sun on New Year’s Day. Now, imagine marching the same parade without the ability to see! The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Panthers were selected to do just that for the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade. Stay tuned.

Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band

Photo courtesy of Ohio State School for the Blind.

 

3. Debut of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band

The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band made its debut in January 2008 with 91 of the nation’s most talented musicians. The group performed alongside an all-star color guard from DCI at the U.S. Army All American Bowl in San Antonio. With a second year under its belt, the All-American Band gives young musicians hope to become All-Americans!

U.S. Army All-American Marching Band 2008
Photo courtesy of Sportslink.

View a video of the band’s 2008 halftime show.

2. U.S. Olympic Orchestra performance in Tiananmen Square

On Aug. 3, 2008, the U.S. Olympic Orchestra became the first-ever foreign musicians to perform in the historic Tiananmen Square in Beijing, according to Vallejo, Calif.-based World Projects International Music Productions, the tour operator. The Square was closed to the public for several hours while the group performed an hour-long concert as part of a televised cultural celebration.

U.S. Olympic Orchestra Tiananmen Square
Photo by R. Canlas and D. LaFlam.

 

1. Phantom Regiment’s DCI comeback and win

Phantom Regiment shocked the drum corps world by overtaking The Blue Devils at the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships after entering the quarterfinals in fourth place.

Phantom seemed a fan favorite as the crowd erupted for the championships announcement, and the stadium roared throughout the encore of “Spartacus.” Blue Devils B was also knocked from the top spot in Open Class when the Vanguard Cadets took first place in an upset.

Phantom Regiment Spartacus
Photo by Jolesch Photography, www.jolesch.com. 

In the next issue, we’ll be looking at the Top 10 college alumni marching bands. Nominate your favorites here.

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