October 03, 2012 - CLINTON TWP. – Not only did the Oxford High School Marching Band take top honors Saturday at the Chippewa Valley Marching Band Invitational, the Wildcats also earned their highest-ever competitive score at a scholastic show.
The Oxford High School Marching Band performs at the Chippewa Valley Marching Band Invitational Sept. 29. Photo by Ted Dickens. (click for larger version)
"We won first place in Class A," said OHS Band Director Jim Gibbons, who noted it's been about three years since the band's last first place finish. "I'm real excited. The kids have been working hard and making real steady progress. It was by far our best performance of the (halftime) show this school year."
Oxford's halftime show is entitled "Pirates of the Caribbean" and it features music from the 2003 blockbuster movie starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Folks wishing to see it live will have an opportunity to do so at the homecoming game against Southfield Lathrup on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. People can also see the band doing its thing in the homecoming parade, which will take place prior the game at 5:30 p.m. along East and N. Glaspie streets and N. Oxford Rd. leading up to the high school.
Oxford beat out fellow Class A bands from Waterford Mott and Roseville high schools. A total of seven marching bands competed at the Chippewa Valley Invitational.
What's even more impressive than the first place finish was the fact that Oxford scored an 82.9 out of a possible 100 points.
"We had the second highest score overall at the competition," Gibbons said. "The only band that had a higher score than us, for the whole competition, was L'Anse Creuse High School, a big double A school."
L'Anse Creuse, which marches at "a higher level of competition" than Oxford, scored a 90. Bands who compete at that level usually spend about "ten times the amount of money" Oxford does on props and staff for their shows, according to Gibbons.
Gibbons explained that typically a good score at these competitions is 75 and above, so Oxford's 82.9 is excellent.
"That's the best score we've ever gotten at a scholastic marching band competition," he said. "We've been (in the) high 70s, around 80 before. This is the highest score we've received at a scholastic show."
While some marching bands concentrate on enhancing the pageantry of their show and have tons of money to invest in the visual aspects, Oxford focuses on building and strengthening the core essentials.
"We're about doing your traditional halftime show," Gibbons said. "We focus on how the kids march and how they play. We're not putting props on the field and doing that type of stuff."
Gibbons noted that competing against other bands isn't about winning or beating other schools for bragging rights, it's about improving as a group.
"If you go to a competition, you want to do the best you can do," he said. "But I tell the kids we're competing against ourselves, not so much other schools because we can't control what other schools do. The only thing we can control is what we do.
"We want to do the best that we can do, perform at our highest level, get the highest score possible and hopefully that score wins."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.