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Band Returns to State Tournament

By: Addison Eade

The Flora High School Band, directed by Harry Penry and David Koontz, has been invited back to play at the IHSA tournament again this year.

They will travel to Peoria on March 8 to play at Class 1A & 2A boys games all day. 2017 was the last year the Flora High School band attended state. Prior to that, Flora’s last appearance at the tournament was 1993, over 13 years ago. Penry was the principal at the time.

The event used to be held at Champaign, IL but has since changed to Peoria. The IHSA tournaments have been going on since 1978, with the band attending eight times since then.

Penry and Koontz agree that it’s a very long, exhausting day and that it’s worth it. Penry last went in 1991 and states, “I remember every second of it; there was a lot less technology and we actually had time to play back then.” Penry and Koontz both wore headsets that let them know when to play at the most recent tournament. They said this was a big difference.

Back in the 90s, the band had around 100 members. FHS band now has approximately 60 members. At the last tournament, each band could only have 40 members on the floor at a time. Penry devised a plan to split the band into groups based on skills and switched the groups out periodically. The band plays all day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with one lunch break. A local Peoria restaurant donated lunch.

Peyton Blanchette, a player who went two years ago says, “I loved the last time we went, it’s a very exhausting day but I’m excited to go back.”

A lot of the upperclassmen are excited for this since they have gone previously. Jacob Payne, a sophomore says, “This is my first time going this year, and I’m so nervous, but I think it will be a good learning experience and I hope we go back soon.”

Posted by on February 7, 2019. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.