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BOA Handbook changes how finals performance order is determined

Music For All released the 2016 edition of the Bands of America Official Procedures and Adjudication Handbook today, spelling out a few significant changes to competition procedures that will take effect this fall.

— Updated finals order selection process for Super Regionals and Grand Nationals. Super Regionals and Grand Nationals will mirror regionals in doing a top half and bottom half draw for finals performance slots. However, they will continue to utilize the pre-draw system unlike regionals. Last year, there were many valid complaints that part of the reason Broken Arrow beat Hebron was because of their performance slots, last and first respectively.

— A definition of the point system. The point system is used to determine which groups receive performance slots at competitions that are over their enrollment limits before the enrollment deadline. The point system has never been used before and has only been alluded to in registration documents. Now it's spelled out in the rulebook.
Special Note: If more applications are received by the designated postmark date than spots in a show, a point system is used to determine which bands are eligible for the initial draw. Points are allotted based on a Band’s participation in Bands of America events over the previous four years. The point system assigns points using the following criteria: two points per year for attending Grand Nationals, and one point for attending one or more Regional or Super Regional each year, with a total of three possible points per year (12 points maximum for a four year period).
— Adjusted full enrollment numbers. For regionals, full enrollment has been adjusted from 30 bands to 35 bands. For super regionals, full enrollment has been adjusted from 60 bands to 64 bands. For Grand Nationals, full enrollment has been adjusted from 90 (sometimes listed as 94) bands to 100 bands, with 50 bands performing each day.

— Additional field passes for purchase. In the past, each band is given six director name badges and 25 field passes. This year, bands can choose to purchase up to five additional field passes, giving a total of 36 staff members and adult volunteers access to the field.

— Clarification on pre-recorded music and samples.
Tempo-Specific samples and musical loops are not permitted during the performance.
— Reduced minimum performance time. This rule was typically not enforced at early-season regionals, but the minimum performance time has been shortened from seven minutes to six minutes.

For more information or to read the full text, check out the Adjudication Handbook.

The Stock Market of Band

By Jakob Budge

Let’s talk about stocks. Based on results from the phenomenal 2015 season, this is your guide of which bands to buy stock in right this instant, which bands to hold onto and not panic, and some sleeper bands to invest in that many people might not have noticed. That is if you could buy stock in a band like you could in a business. Season-to-season predictions are a fickle thing, but keep in mind, like all investments, this is not meant to be for next fall, but rather for 3+ years in the future. Without further ado, this is your guide to investing in the theoretical stock market of marching band.

Buy Now

Homestead (CA) performs at the 2015 Grand
National Championships // Photo by Claire Albrecht
William Mason: If there’s one band you want to own stock in, it’s William Mason. I absolutely loved their show this year, and they finished higher than even I expected them to. In the last few years, their improvement within Grand Nats Finals has been incredible. Within the next five years, barring something crazy happening, I firmly believe the Eagle will be in Ohio.

Blue Springs: The first band to make finals from Missouri is second on my list of stock to invest in. I live in Missouri, so consider this a heartfelt "congratulations" to anyone from Blue Springs. The sky’s the limit for this Kansas City program, so invest while you can. My five-year projection for these guys does not include the Eagle, but I do think that they will be in the discussion for best band in the country.

Flower Mound: I can’t not include Flower Mound. They blew all expectations away at San Antonio, and their explosion onto the scene last year took everyone by surprise. Are they too good to be true? I could see them being a flame out, except they are surrounded by pure excellence in Texas and I just can’t pick against the kind of success they had this year. Within the next five years, I think they will be back in Indianapolis at least once as the favorite to win it all.

California Bands: We all know Ayala, and their success is constant. But Homestead (CA) was phenomenal in prelims at Grand Nationals, easily made semifinals, and then seemingly slipped out of everyone’s minds. Well, they placed 19th, less than five points out of finals. At the American Canyon regional, they were second, ahead of Clovis West, a great program, and three points behind Saratoga. If Saratoga were to attend Grand Nats, would they be a potential finalist? I’m investing in the state of California bands, and in the next five years, I’m willing to bet a program not named Ayala from the Golden State makes finals.

Hold On, Don't Panic

Franklin (TN) saxophones perform at the 2015 Grand
National Championships // Photo by Tom White
Franklin: Yes, they fell enough in placements to scare us last year, but they returned to inching ever closer to a finals berth. This time around, they finished 13th and just .6 out of finals. It's good to see them back on track, and within five years, I think they make it into finals (and maybe sooner than we think).

Dobyns-Bennett: Let's just keep calm with the Tennessee bands. DB is another great program from the Volunteer State, and although many people think they took a step back this year, I believe they were a little overhyped coming into the season, and they placed exactly where we at HornRank were expecting. I think that they are on a similar trajectory as Franklin, and they will also make an appearance in finals within five years.

Eden Prairie and Rosemount: Eden Prairie not making semifinals was a shocker to everyone and undoubtedly will have dampened the expectations of many for Minnesota bands in the future. However, I don’t think it is time to jump ship yet. I’m always a big fan of these bands when I see them in person, and I think that Eden Prairie missing semis is just a blip. In five years, these bands will still be perennially in the top half at St. Louis.

Wando: I’ll be the first to admit, their placement at Atlanta was concerning. But when you consider the environment that this school was in, I don’t think there’s any reason for the worrying. The only concern in this situation goes to the town, the school, and the victims of the flooding in South Carolina. I don’t personally know the details or extent of the damage, but I’m confident that Wando returns to finals and is contending once more in much less than five years. We at HornRank wish the best of luck to all involved in the recovery.

Some Under-the-Radar Groups

Blue Springs South (MO) performs at the 2015
Clarksville Regional // Photo by Jeremiah Wooten
Blue Springs South: Yes, as the name would suggest, these guys are just south of the aforementioned Blue Springs. No, they are not as well known, nor do they have the same resume as the first finalist from Missouri. But they have a similar situation and program, have a great reputation and high expectations within the state, and I think that within five years, they will be quite the force to be reckoned with. Clarksville was just the beginning.

Lincoln: In person at the St. Louis Super Regional, these guys were one of my absolute favorites, and I was blown away by their volume of sound. Overall, I just came away impressed. South Dakota isn’t a state usually associated with the marching band scene, but I think that within five years, Lincoln will put it on the map. Look for continued success and improvement at St. Louis, and I would be fascinated to see them at Grand Nationals.

North Hardin: They made their first appearance in our Top 30 this year, and I don’t think it will be their last. They’ve quietly been having great success in Kentucky and at BOA events for years, and at the Dayton regional this year, they were just 3.3 points behind Carmel. I believe Kentucky is a rebounding state on the Bands of America scene, and North Hardin is leading the charge. Expect them to be in the Grand National Finals bubble discussion in the coming years.

Joe E. Newsome: This band from Florida made their first BOA appearance ever this season, and boy was it quite the debut. Winning the Newark Regional is not an easy feat, and although there are certainly more competitive events, a win over the likes of Norwin, Trumbull, and James Madison is no joke. I don’t know what trajectory the Newsome band is on since there’s simply no past information to go by, but if they continue this level of success, I’m willing to bet that in five years they could be recognized as the second-best marching program in Florida.

Agree? Disagree? I’d love to know which bands you feel are the right ones to “invest” in. Let me know in the comments who your choices would be. The future is undeniably bright for BOA, so there are plenty to choose from.

BOA 2016 Fall Schedule

Blue Springs (MO) performs at the 2015 Grand National
Championships // Photo by Jeremiah Wooten
Earlier this afternoon, Music For All officially released their schedule of BOA Fall Championship events for the 2016 season. The biggest change has to do with several of the super regionals. The San Antonio and St. Louis competitions have been moved back one week and the Indianapolis competition has been moved back two weeks.

Other notable changes include the dates of the southeastern regionals in Powder Springs, Clarksville, and Jacksonville as well as the return of the Tacoma Regional, which was cancelled last year due to low enrollment. The Tacoma Regional is listed as "tentative pending sufficient enrollment" on the registration form and is the only event with that disclaimer.

Sept. 17, 2016
McAllen, TX — McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium
Monroeville, PA — Gateway High School
Powder Springs, GA — McEachern High School

Sept. 24, 2016
Austin, TX — Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex
Clarksville, TN — Austin Peay State University
Dayton, OH — Welcome Stadium

Oct. 1, 2016
Conroe, TX — Woodforest Bank Stadium
Jacksonville, AL — Jacksonville State University
Toledo, OH — University of Toledo

Oct. 8, 2016
Plano, TX — John Clark Stadium

Oct. 15, 2016
Newark, DE — The University of Delaware
Hillsboro, OR — Hillsboro Stadium
Winston-Salem, NC — Wake Forest University

Oct. 21–22, 2016
St. Louis, MO Super Regional — The Dome at America's Center

Oct. 22, 2016
San Jose, CA — San Jose State University

Oct. 29, 2016
Atlanta, GA Super Regional — Georgia Dome
Long Beach, CA — Long Beach City College
St. George, UT — Dixie State University

Nov. 4–5, 2016
Indianapolis, IN Super Regional — Lucas Oil Stadium
San Antonio, TX Super Regional — Alamodome

Nov. 10–12, 2016
Grand National Championships — Lucas Oil Stadium

HornRank Marching Brackets

Voting is now open for the Semifinals Round!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the HornRank Marching Brackets! Below is a compilation of some of our favorite shows from the last decade that helped expand the activity into what it has become today. The process of getting from the hundreds of great shows we’ve been fortunate enough to watch over the years to 32 was difficult, but now we look forward to seeing fans decide which group had the best show of the past ten years.

Before you start voting, here’s how we picked the 32 shows that are in the bracket:
  • We included the last ten Grand National Champions and placed them in the eight 1 and 2 seeds with the remaining two as 3 seeds.
  • The remaining 22 slots were other groups with memorable shows that had a major impact on marching band for future years or were moving because of demand, music performance, visual performance, etc.
  • The four 8 seeds are shows that had a large impact the activity for varying reasons, but didn’t necessarily place first or second at a major event.

We left some incredibly great groups and shows out of this bracket because there have been way more than 32 awesome shows over the last decade. Let us know who you think should’ve been in and why in the comments or on email. We will update the bracket at around the same pace that the NCAA basketball tournament bracket is advancing, so keep coming back to vote each round as we determine America’s favorite Bands of America show of the past ten years.

We've divided the bracket into four regions, each name is the last name of one of the main composers used in each region’s 1 seed show:

Don’t forget to check out our 2016 regional pages as well, where we’ve posted which groups we know (unofficially) are attending various BOA events in 2016.

Marching Brackets, Semifinals

Welcome to the Semifinal Round of the 2016 HornRank Marching Brackets! You can read about how we seeded shows or vote below until Sunday, April 3, at 11:59 p.m.

Hebron performs their 2015 show "360" in front of a packed
Grand National FInals audience. // Photo by Claire Albrecht

Copland Region: Hebron 2015, 360, 96.25, 3rd at Grand Nats
Shostakovich Region: Round Rock 2013, Elemental Evolution, 93.95, 4th at Grand Nats
Hebron’s “360” won the hearts of fans across the country in their first trip to Grand Nationals, posting the highest score in BOA history in semifinals while finishing 3rd in finals and taking the music caption. Noah Khan's incredible sax solo impressed many viewers and may be enough to take Hebron into the Final Round. Round Rock’s first appearance at Grand Nationals was in 2013, and they left Indianapolis with a 4th place finish, a music caption victory in semifinals, a Rose Bowl bid, and a thoroughly enjoyable show. They are now one of the country’s beloved programs, and this show was a large part of their ascent to national recognition.


Reich Region: Hebron 2013, World of Wonder, 92.65, 2nd at San Antonio
Barber Region: Ronald Reagan 2015, Every(One), 92.35, 2nd at San Antonio
The awards ceremonies in San Antonio are always intense. No matter how in the know you are, there will always be a few exciting and surprising moments. One of those moments was when Hebron was awarded second place by only 0.05 points, without winning a single caption. Ronald Reagan's second place finish by less than half a point in 2015 was also an intense and exciting moment. Which second place group will win?