Maui High band competes in Indiana

The Maui High School Marching Band and Color Guard performs at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday. The Maui band is one of more than 100 bands in the event. Mililani High School from Oahu also is in the competition, which runs through today. -- LEWIS NORFLEET photo

The Maui High School Marching Band and Color Guard performs at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday. The Maui band is one of more than 100 bands in the event. Mililani High School from Oahu also is in the competition, which runs through today. -- LEWIS NORFLEET photo

Maui High School’s Marching Band and Color Guard took to a national stage once again Thursday, this time at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indiana.

The Sabers are among more than 100 bands in the event. Mililani High School from Oahu is also in the competition, which runs through today at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

As of Friday afternoon Hawaii time, the Sabers were awaiting word on whether they qualified for today’s semifinals.

The competition is self-described as “the premier marching band event in the nation.”

“Kids had the performance of a lifetime,” Wasano said Thursday. “They have been wonderful representatives of our school and community. I am proud of them.”

Members of the Maui High School Marching Band and Color Guard stand outside the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis earlier this week. The Sabers are performing and competing in the Bands of America Grand National Championships. -- Maui High School Band photo

Members of the Maui High School Marching Band and Color Guard stand outside the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis earlier this week. The Sabers are performing and competing in the Bands of America Grand National Championships. -- Maui High School Band photo

Just two years ago, members of the Saber band and color guard made it onto the world stage when they marched in the annual Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, Calif. It is the only Valley Isle school unit that has done so.

Around 120 students are on the Indiana trip, including woodwind and brass players, percussionists, color guard members and drum majors.

For the Midwest performance, Wasano said the title of the production is “Huaka’i,” which is Hawaiian for journey.

He has said that the band wanted the audience to be taken on a journey in Indianapolis, with the band performance including Hawaiian imagery and sounds.

“In essence, we are embarking on a journey to the Midwest, where modern band and marching band was born, and discovering the roots of our activity,” Wasano has said.

There were two days of preliminary competition, Thursday and Friday, with about 50 bands performing each day. Semifinals and finals are scheduled for today.

Judging criteria include musical and visual performances and visual and music general effect.

While the Sabers have been practicing for months, one thing they could not prepare for was the weather.

“It is cold,” Wasano said.

Fortunately the performances are in an indoor stadium.

Wasano said that outside temperatures were hovering around the mid-30s.

Prior to their performance, students rehearsed in the Indiana Convention Center and outside at a high school where social media videos showed students with sweatshirts and jackets doing cardio exercises to keep warm.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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