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  • Future of BOA

    I have been thinking about how much BOA has changed in the last decade and It got me to thinking... What bands are rising and falling right now? And when will the top bands in the country be passed by new up-and-coming bands? We could see bands like Carmel, Broken Arrow, and Avon reign on top for a while, but they will eventually be dethroned. Which bands will pass them and how soon will it happen?
    Last edited by Quadsquad_03; 02-11-2019, 02:05 PM.

  • #2
    I'll bite on this. My crystal ball only runs 10 - 15 years in the future, but in that time, the future of the marching arts at the high school level can be summed up in one word: Texas. It's not going to happen next year or the year after, since the state's bands as a whole have a TON to figure out still in the color guard & visual design/demand department, but the state will be the dominant force at the high school level in the coming decade. That can be attributed to two reasons: 1) music education in the state as a whole is far stronger than any other state (again, as a whole), and 2) totally non band related: people are leaving rust belt states & the midwest at an ever-increasing rate, while states like Texas are in a population boom (which will eventually fade as well --- everything comes in cycles --- but for the foreseeable future, Missouri & Indiana ain't where it's at).

    To the music education point, two aspects establish Texas as THE state. First, their public school band directors are simply treated better than anywhere I've found; a minimum of four --- but often five --- salaried, district-provided, degree-required full time director positions is the norm for every 5A or 6A school, whereas it's the exception for bands like Carmel & Avon compared to the rest of Indiana & Mason vs. the other large Ohio schools (it's worth noting that Oklahoma is the only state that generally follows Texas's model). The VAST majority of large schools outside of Texas rely on a two band director system (at a maximum) with their main percussion & guard directors working as freelance positions paid occasionally through the district in a para position but most often supplemented --- or paid entirely by --- the band booster organization. Director burnout in most Midwest states where they're doing it ALL vs. director burnout in Texas where they're well-supported, staffed, and funded (again, as the norm, not after begging or years of establishing competitive success and program "worth") is not even comparable. The second point regarding it being the top state for music education is that Texas simply has different expectations & training approaches to teaching instrumental music; it's always been a concert band first state with marching band on the backburner (although that's shifting) whereas Indiana, for example, has ALWAYS been a marching band first state with some individual school exceptions here & there. I grew up and got my degree in Indiana, went to school with many friends from Ohio (my college was near the state line and drew kids from each state), taught in Indiana, and have taught in Colorado now, while many friends I graduated with have found their way down to Texas and the education system there (a fair number have also gone to Vegas, so I feel like I can reliably speak to the music education there as well). So, I can only speak for those states (although I've found band is generally taught in similar old school ways across the Midwest), but no one compares to the state-wide insistence on concert band & honor band focus that almost every 5A & 6A school in Texas has. Again, I'm not talking exceptions of schools with outstanding, Midwest Clinic levels of musicianship, those definitely exist in every state; I'm saying the statewide culture of individual musicianship that pervades every program in Texas is vastly unmatched in any other state I've seen. I think many Texans would be surprised at some wonderful marching bands in the Midwest whose students couldn't sightread their way out of a paper bag (obviously I'm not talking about Carmel, Avon, Mason, Lawrence, or CG). Band is just better in Texas than anywhere else, and even one trip to the Midwest clinic underscores that point drastically. Once Texas bands get the visual side of things figured out (and many are close), they'll be 40 - 50 bands that could make GN Finals on a given year. Hell, we're already talking about Round Rock as a potential GN Finalist next year, and they were 26th at SA this year. With the long term sustainability that Texas bands have in individual musicianship + ten years to figure out visual, I don't see how the state is NOT the dominant future of this activity at the high school level.

    Last note --- sorry for the long-winded post --- the point about population migration. Families with kids are rapidly chasing jobs into the Sun Belt region of the country, of which Houston, Austin, San Antonio, & Dallas are gaining greatly from the influx of new residents. Conversely, most mid-sized midwestern cities are shrinking in population year over year (the larger cities like Kansas City & Indy seem to be the exception). Hell, most of the inner St. Louis ring looks like a ghost town now, and the suburbs around it look almost as depressing --- I'm struck by this every few years when I drive through it back to Indy (you'd be surprised how quickly you forget how bad some parts in the middle of the country have gotten when you're not actively immersed in it). Southeastern Michigan, northern Ohio, most places in Pennsylvania...I'm impressed our expensive activity has hung on as long as it has in those parts of the country. We've seen what happened with the northeast; a once-great band region now offers up almost nothing on the national scale. I'm NOT saying it will be the same with bans in the Midwest, I just mean that these things run in (long) cycles, and currently families are not migrating TO the Midwest, nor do I see that changing in the next decade. It's not just the rust belt, by the way; California is so expensive that bands like James Logan have famously been hanging their financial margins by a thread for at least a decade now, despite being located in wealthy areas. Meanwhile, young families keep moving to suburbs of cities like Houston and a low cost of living means they have money to pour into private lessons & band boosters.

    WHEW apologies for the lengthy post, everyone. Just detailing out who will dominate the activity in 10 - 20 years and that's Texas through & through.

    Comment


    • #3
      The biggest challenge to Texas bands being consistently at the top in the past 10-15 years seems to be school splits. I'd say those situations are the most likely way that any current top-level program sees any true decline in the nearish future.

      We've seen it happen to a lot of great programs to varying results.

      Areas like Cobb County, GA went from having South Cobb as a finalist to seeing Lassiter win 2 championships to having multiple finalist-level programs to having a few in the bubble range now.

      Winston Churchill was a solid program, then split and Ronald Reagan was a medal contender (probably should have won the Eagle in the early 2000s), then split again and Claudia Taylor Johnson is one of the top dogs in Texas.

      There have been rumored splits/changes to several of our current top-level programs across the country which could mean just about anything. Wando, Broken Arrow, more in Texas, etc.

      Especially in the case of quickly growing communities, only time will tell.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the issue of school splits is a little overstated. These days, the school splits do not hurt so much for a few reasons:

        - The schools are growing so rapidly you can hardly recognize a change in band or school size anymore. This is in part because bands are starting to have unwieldy amounts of alternates due to the dramatically rising interest in the last few years. Instead of cutting into the band number, the splits are just cutting into students who didnít have a spot anyway.
        - The school splits do not automatically take the richer area anymore as a matter of practice. This was a big problem in LISD South and NEISD. However, recent splits in Conroe and Frisco ISD along with general geography seem to have reversed this trend.
        - Directors are not moving from the primary to the secondary school anymore. Even the assistants tend to stick with the older school these days. Directors often move from a *different* school outside of the district these days, but originating schools are holding their staffs.
        - Usually there were other explanations involved when schools declined after a split, and it was almost always loss of a director (often not even related to the split itself!)


        Ultimately, I think school splits are a good thing because it is exploding the number of extraordinary bands in a linear fashion. Combined with the growth of talented directors to take the new and old programs to new heights, we see Texasí have improved growth year after year.

        Comment


        • #5


          Wow great points yíall. Charlotte NC is also exploding too. The main problem is CMS school system is too large and unorderly. The wealthier high schools have the numbers but either they are too wealthy with entitled students, too poor, and just not funded properly everywhere. Rock Hill is doesnít have the funds. The Fort Mill schools are the sweet spot but the size of those bands havenít gotten quite big enough and now will be splitting for the last time with Catawba Ridge opening this year. The concert programs are developed but marching has been pretty staginant overall throughout the years.

          Band programs do tell a lot about a community, because it reflects a community. It can reflect culture, status, and drive. Itís not always the band thatís be respresented itís the community.
          Last edited by Marimba11; 02-11-2019, 09:49 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            This is a quick follow-up on Jake and HBuff. They both had terrific responses about the current state of the Midwest. I had an exam so I wasn't able to follow up on that, but I've got a bit of time now. Buff, I think your post got flagged (I know how infuriating that must be....).

            WITHIN FIVE YEARS:
            Indiana marching bands have never been anymore competitive than they have been now. The strength of programs are hitting all time highs around the state from just 5 years ago- Edgewood, Evansville North, Greenfield-Central, Plainfield, Fishers, Brownsburg, Decatur Central, Carroll, Castle, Carmel (yes, Carmel), etc. Combine those that are holding steady competitively since (Greenwood, Northview, Avon, Homestead, Concord, Munster, Western, Lewis Cass) and the scene worth boasting about today. I do worry that we may be beginning to hit critical mass at this point (see below), but there's some room at the top for some more growth. Texas may be king, but Indiana is a distinct second!

            WITHIN TEN YEARS:
            I have to agree briefly on the portion about the ​​​population migration in the Midwest. People simply just do not want to be in the Midwest anymore, unless you are located in a big city on the upswing. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, etc., all those traditionally* large cities that used to be hubs of influence in the region are losing people left and right. Expenses in those cities have been pricing younger families out, so many are moving out for better pastures.

            *Now... There is a reason why I called them traditional. Many of the other mid-sized cities in the Midwest have been growing at fairly surprising rates, Indianapolis being one of them. I remember Kansas City and Des Moines being other names mentioned. The cost of living in these cities are pretty low and more affordable for those looking to start families (I was actually surprised at the general prices outside of Indianapolis). I also would throw in Detroit too, as the central portion of the city (as Buff mentioned) been on the downswing for a fairly long time- it's been recent that people began realizing that downtown wasn't quite as bad as they had thought initially and began moving back into the city/suburbs... we'll call this the metro area. In fact, Detroit has been leaking people very slightly, but Ann Arbor has been experiencing a boon nowadays.

            The specific area, however, I meant to address initially was Indianapolis metro. Many of these people moving in are families moving into the suburbs around downtown. Fishers has been the quickest growing out of all, and will likely continue to for a few years. In addition, the area to the west (Avon, Brownsburg, Plainfield) also have been seeing a lot of strong growth overall. Really, the population growth at this point is going to keep the band spirit around here alive for a good another 10 years or so (when we may have to evaluate the scene again). ISSMA, for however archaic they may be, do a fantastic job in helping keep the all-around music education scene to be one of the best in the country (imo).

            However, Indiana as a whole has been suffering from a massive brain drain. Indianapolis is a lovely place to watch a city grow... But for many of the youth today, it's simply not enough. The ones with the degree are leaving left and right for something more..... now. Indiana is losing out on the education big time. You can't breathe progress into a state without knowing how to (hint: those degrees usually do). I'm not going to lie, it's pretty frustrating when the ballot initiatives are some of the softest stuff I've seen over actual questions that matter to residents (i.e. legalizing weed, expanding Medicare, funding public schools and teachers). *Personal anecdote: I remember distinctly in 2016 that the ballot initiative was whether to add hunting to the Indiana Constitution.

            Lastly, Indiana has probably one of the least responsive state governments in the country, and people are here seem a bit... apprehensive to hold the people responsible. Unfortunately, one of these issues is education. There was a huge uproar a few years ago over the former superintendent leeching money away from public schools to charter schools at the turn of the decade- there was an ousting and replaced with someone who more closely aligned with keeping money in public school corporations. Nothing has changed since then. If one were to look at ratings of public education in America, Indiana has some of the lowest in math skills, literacy, etc. Education in Indiana wasn't that great in the first place, and it's becoming apparent that Indiana education hasn't hit rock bottom just yet. If you can see where this is leading to, it's quite possible that music education could certainly take a huge hit in the coming years. I would very much like to see a teacher's strike at some point, but there's a very "I got my own" mentality in Indiana (*cough* Carmel & Fishers & Center Grove & private high schools *cough*) that I can only see the teachers' union fold to the demands of the state.

            I don't think the fall will happen anytime soon. The strength of ISSMA in the state will keep programs in Indiana alive a bit longer, and hopefully for a good amount of years to come. The organization receiving support (BOA, DCI) from the city will definitely keep the spirit alive. But... at some point, the external circumstances will get in the way if things don't change within the next 10 years.

            In 10 years: Indiana education may falter and cut budget for public funding.
            In 20 years: ... I really don't know. I'm not sure if I want to.
            Formerly muse
            Otherwise known as "thewho" on IM.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree that Texas will definitely dominate in the foreseeable future, but I can see Oklahoma generating a few more BOA powerhouses. Of course there's BA, Union, and Owasso, but Jenks and Bixby are making their presence known in BOA. All five of these bands are GN finalist material, with Bixby being the only one to not attend GN yet (and also only one not to make GN finals). Oklahoma also has bands like Coweta and Edmond Memorial that could do very well in BOA, though not worthy of being considered upcoming powerhouses yet.

              Oklahoma rankings have been shifting lately, and if they keep shifting as dramatically as they have been, then I think we could see a few more bands on this list

              Comment


              • #8
                To be clear, it's likely every school that is not located in Indianapolis that will feel the brunt of this. There's a few exceptions like the Evansville schools & city of Evansville taking an active in cultivating a music scene, but it's going to be a pretty difficult situation for a lot of corporations

                Another personal anecdote about the Indiana state government:
                I saw today in local news that a bill that will arm teachers with guns is advancing through the House & Senate. I know it's a touchy subject and all, but you'd figure that most school shooters being 15-18, you'd want to keep them AWAY from guns instead of inadvertently giving them access. All it takes is:
                1. One mistake (forgetting to lock the gun cabinet)
                2. one emotional trigger (teachers in Indiana are stretched so much beyond than what a typical teacher is... and now you're asking them to possibly take bullets)
                3. the right circumstance (a gun left in a classroom)

                to be mourning our children again and living with regret. This is a very new thing at the moment, so the response hasn't come in yet. Yet....
                Formerly muse
                Otherwise known as "thewho" on IM.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marimba11 View Post

                  Wow great points yíall. Charlotte NC is also exploding too. The main problem is CMS school system is too large and unorderly. The wealthier high schools have the numbers but either they are too wealthy with entitled students, too poor, and just not funded properly everywhere. Rock Hill is doesnít have the funds. The Fort Mill schools are the sweet spot but the size of those bands havenít gotten quite big enough and now will be splitting for the last time with Catawba Ridge opening this year. The concert programs are developed but marching has been pretty staginant overall throughout the years.

                  Band programs do tell a lot about a community, because it reflects a community. It can reflect culture, status, and drive. Itís not always the band thatís be respresented itís the community.
                  I don't think we'll see any significant growth from any CMS band programs anytime soon. Providence was looking good for a couple years but they've regressed some. Ardrey Kell is doing quite well and is currently the indisputable best marching band in CMS. But I'm not sure how much better they'll get than they are right now. CMS also seems to always be in a perpetual fight over redistricting and school assignments, so the demographics of a school can potentially change drastically in a short amount of time.

                  I think most likely on the NC side of the border we'll see the most program growth in areas surrounding Charlotte where there is a massive boom in housing construction and population. Mainly Mooresville to the north, Lincoln County to the northwest and Union County to the east.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Quinniethetrumpetman View Post

                    I don't think we'll see any significant growth from any CMS band programs anytime soon. Providence was looking good for a couple years but they've regressed some. Ardrey Kell is doing quite well and is currently the indisputable best marching band in CMS. But I'm not sure how much better they'll get than they are right now. CMS also seems to always be in a perpetual fight over redistricting and school assignments, so the demographics of a school can potentially change drastically in a short amount of time.

                    I think most likely on the NC side of the border we'll see the most program growth in areas surrounding Charlotte where there is a massive boom in housing construction and population. Mainly Mooresville to the north, Lincoln County to the northwest and Union County to the east.
                    One would think Matthews, Pineville, and Mint Hill would be prime candidates for good marching programs

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      With a state as large and climate as generally favorable as Texas is, they should be leading the way in this activity. It should have happened years ago. Nothing too impressive about it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Blame UIL. Even if it is not the full reason (it is, mind you), it is a great scapegoat!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Carmel is definitely wealthy, but I think CTJ, Flower Mound, Vandegrift, and the Woodlands all pull from wealthy, if not wealthier areas. And they probably have just as good of fundraising along with the good financial support from their school districts for baseline costs. Carmel has something that keeps working for them. A sort of comfort and maybe a bit of a home field advantage. But I donít think it is money.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by principalagent View Post
                            Carmel is definitely wealthy, but I think CTJ, Flower Mound, Vandegrift, and the Woodlands all pull from wealthy, if not wealthier areas. And they probably have just as good of fundraising along with the good financial support from their school districts for baseline costs. Carmel has something that keeps working for them. A sort of comfort and maybe a bit of a home field advantage. But I donít think it is money.
                            I won't deny that those areas above are probably wealthier, but don't underestimate the cost of living in Indiana. Carmel lives as well as those areas.
                            Formerly muse
                            Otherwise known as "thewho" on IM.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In Texas, the only thing I've really seen was the quick decline of Westfield and Spring especially considering they both have taken home the eagle. Changing demographics, key director retirements hurt both of those schools quite a bit, Duncanville is another one facing some of those issues. Fundraising is harder, booster groups aren't as tight, that wealth just transferred up the freeway to The Woodlands. Not only The Woodlands but The Woodlands College Park is up and coming down there.

                              The only thing that may hurt Lewisville iSD schools Flower Mound, Marcus and Hebron is possible new high schools down the line. However, I have only seen school splits grow LISD south, they have a great focus on music and keep pumping out powerhouses out the original Leander high school which is still doing well of course.

                              That being said, I don't see changes in Texas much except for new schools popping up on the scene because of growth. You could hear alot more from Frisco schools as Wakeland and Centennial are joined by Reedy High School and Lebanon Trail as competitive bands in 5A. Wakeland is the only Frisco band consistently going to BOA competitions right now, I hope that changes as Lebanon Trail and Reedy improve.

                              I live in Texas, so sorry for the Texas diatribe. There are some Oklahoma City bands that are gaining traction in Edmond, Mustang and Yukon so I think Oklahoma will just continue to be a force in BOA. Looking from afar at demographics I don't see Avon and Carmel going downhill anytime soon. Tarpon Springs, Wando, and other upstate South Carolina bands will continue to get better as the population grows out there.

                              I've always wondered why there were no powerhouses in Colorado but I think they suffer from funding issues. I can't talk with any confidence about other midwest states, but it's clear Texas is going to continue to be a force with bands you haven't hear of yet. Vista Ridge from Leander ISD and Waxahachie have proven that in the last couple of years, More will come.

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