The average score from eighteen competitions calculated at 89.735 with a high of 94.050 (2015) and a low of 83.250 (2006). That’s a pretty big 10.800 point swing! I was definitely expecting it to be smaller, but I had to keep in mind that there have been scoring changes along the way so we are not really comparing apples to apples. To better understand the point swing and its effect on our placement, I dug into the research a little more. Our biggest win margin was by 5.900 points (2013) and our largest loss margin was 3.200 points (2007). That is a range of 9.100 points. You’ll notice that the years of those margins do not align with our highest and lowest scores mentioned earlier. Also, I noticed that Jenison’s biggest increase of points over the last eighteen performances at States was 4.550 (2010) but we still placed second. Our biggest drop in points was -5.600 (2006) and we placed second. This drop did correlate to the year of our lowest score.
We’ve also had some very tight competitions over the years. Jenison has both won and lost by 0.050 points, to the same competitor, all the while having been awarded 2 Caption Awards. In 2004, Jenison edged ahead of Reeths-Puffer for the win, capturing the Music Performance and General Effect awards. But, in 2015, with our highest score ever, Reeths-Puffer pulled out the win. This loss was unexpected because Jenison had been awarded two Caption Awards. We all thought we had locked it up and were shocked beyond belief that we had placed second. Once again, I had to remind myself that the focus of any marching band competition is music. Movement and Props are secondary, so the overall score is weighted very much on the quality of the musical ability of the band. In this case, Jenison scored highest on Visual Performance and General Effect but not by enough to outscore Reeths-Puffer’s Music Performance score. It was a bitter pill that year but completely fair.
That’s the thing about this competition. It’s never a sure thing. For instance, during my research I saw a band had tied with another band for the Music Performance Caption Award. Now, as we just learned, this is a very important award and indicates the level of competition that year. While one band went on to win the state title, the other band placed fourth. So the lesson here is that you can win Caption Awards and still not even place in the top two. Never take a win for granted.
Each year is new and fresh. Just about everything changes every year. The music changes, the drill changes, the students change, instrument mix changes, schools change flights, the judges change, the weather changes. Everything changes! Besides, what fun is the competition if there isn’t any drive to improve? If you don’t anticipate a tight competition, then there is much less incentive to push yourself to do better.
We should all be proud of what we have accomplished together. Yes, the directors and students did most of the work, but we all had a part of the outcome. I have never witnessed greater support for a marching band than at Jenison Public Schools. We appreciate an administration that also supports the musical and performance arts so well.
For those that want to walk down memory lane a little bit, below the picture are the names of the shows that have been performed over the last 18 seasons, their State Finals score, and competition placement result.
2003 Blueprint 88.150 2nd
2004 Progression 85.950 1st
2005 Fearful Symmetries 88.850 2nd
2006 Enigma Variations 83.250 2nd
2007 A Time For War, A Time For Peace 85.900 3rd
2008 Seize the Night 88.800 2nd
2009 Framed 84.250 3rd
2010 Pipes 88.800 2nd
2011 Tempest’s Fury 91.300 1st
2012 Joan (Visionary, Warrior, Martyr, Saint) 89.300 1st
2013 The Path 90.350 1st
2014 Tales of Arabia 91.700 2nd
2015 Cold Hearted 94.050 2nd
2016 Valkyries 93.975 1st
2017 On the Fence 93.025 1st
2018 Under the Surface 93.050 1st
2019 Urban Canvas 93.475 1st