Band to compete at Grand Nationals in Indianapolis


Sofia Valladares

Band preforms during halftime at the varsity Round Rock football game.

The Band and Vision Dance Company is traveling to Indianapolis, Ind. today to participate in Bands of America Grand Nationals. This marks the first time band is competing in Grand Nationals.

“There is some pressure because it’s the first time we’ve ever gone,” band member Samathana Sorsby Jones said. “The marching band world is  talking about us because it’s the first time we’ve ever gone. People are definitely waiting to see how we do and how we measure up against Indiana bands.”

Grand Nationals lasts from Nov. 14-16, and the band will play at Lucas Oil Stadium, a venue bigger than what those the band has played at before. They will compete against 90 other bands from across the country.

“There is a lot of tough competition in Indianapolis,” Vision dancer Jasmine Chizari said. “We’re expected to place either second or third. I have confidence that we have a chance at first.” 

Band placed second at the Bands of America Super Regional at San Antonio Nov. 2. The band who placed first, Reagan High School, will not be competing at Grand Nationals.

“I’m really excited,” Sorsby Jones said. “It’s my senior year, so I’m excited to have a really great end of season all the way out of state. I’m just excited to see the results and excited to perform with everyone.”

Sofia Valladares
The band placed second at the San Antonio Super Regional.

The marching band world expects Vandegrift to place highly in the Grand National finals. HornRank, a marching band ranking site, currently ranks the Vandegrift band as third in the country.

“We have what I feel is a really amazing product,” Chizari said. “I think we have a really great opportunity to showcase that to the whole nation. Mostly, [I feel] excited about getting to travel with 400 of my closest friends.”

However, some band members like saxaphone player Bernardo Conterno are more focused on the new experience of Grand Nationals rather than how high the band will place. 

“I’m really proud to perform for such an unreal audience,” Conterno said. “This band will set the standard for Vandegrift on the national stage. Our show is very emotional and powerful while also [being] very clean and technical. Placement is never the focus though, our number one goal is always to communicate with the audience and inspire them through our show.”