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Lakota West Marching Band Wins Obetz Regional for 3rd Consecutive Year

The band placed 1st with a score of 80.15, their highest ever for this competition.

In 2021, The Lakota West Marching Band made history by placing first at the Bands of America Obetz Regional, something the program had never done before. Winning a Regional this competitive is not an easy achievement and very few bands have ever had the honor of being named BOA regional champions. During their 2022 season, the band returned to Obetz and took another decisive victory, beating the 2nd-place band by more than an entire point.

In 2023, the marching band was faced with a new challenge: not only did the event have a record-breaking amount of bands attending, but some would be giving West a close run for 1st place. The band, however, pulled through and swept the entire competition by a landslide, winning with their highest score yet at Obetz, 80.15. This would be nicknamed by the band as the Obetz “3-peat.” Lakota West was making history, again and again and again.

Before their 2023 show, UnXplained, was even on the field, the attendance list for Obetz was released, revealing powerhouse bands Madison Central, Goshen, Lindbergh, and Lawrence Township fighting for the top few placements. Attempting to pull off another win seemed extremely difficult and would prove challenging on a whole new level that hadn’t been seen by any other regional the group had attended.

The competition proved to be the thing that would drive the marching band to work even harder than ever before. On September 16th, just one week before the Obetz Regional, Lakota hosted its first-ever Lakota West Marching Band Invitational at West Main Campus. Although the Lakota West Marching Band did perform, they did so in Exhibition, meaning they did not receive any awards. On the contrary, the band did get scores and judge tapes critiquing the show, but it was not made public. 

Using this new feedback from the performance, the band took their focus to another level during the final week before Obetz, looking to make a powerful statement against the competing bands, some of which the band has faced in the past. Lindbergh, for example, competed against Lakota West at the St. Louis Super Regional, where they edged out the group in score by just a .225 point difference, taking the last open spot in finals. Goshen was another competitor who had created a name for themselves; having made Bands of America Grand National Semi-Finals in 2022, they had made it clear they were not attending this regional for fun and games. Though West had beaten them in both prelims and semis, the band had almost won a BOA regional themselves earlier in the year, building a strong reputation for their program.

With the final week of preparation complete, the Obetz regional began, and Lakota West hit the road for their 2-hour trip to Fortress Obetz, just south of Columbus. Once the band arrived, they went straight to warm up and were the 2nd to last to perform in prelims. With close to 6,000 people watching, Lakota West took the field and performed their roughly 8-minute-long show, wowing audiences and captivating the judges who had been meticulously scoring since 8:00 AM. 

Once the performance ended, the band went to the side and waited for awards. Lakota West would go on to win 1st place in class AAAA, along with Outstanding Visual, Outstanding Music, and General Effect for class AAAA. The band was announced as a regional finalist and would be the last group to perform. 


In their off time, the band was able to eat dinner with the Fairfield High School Marching Band, another AAAA band that was just .05 out of finals. Lakota West was also asked to play the National Anthem to kick off finals performances earlier in the evening, where 6 of the bands’ most skilled brass players had the honor of performing.

 After heading to finals warmup, the Lakota West Marching Band took the field once more, with the energy of the competition fueling the 200+ students to have their best run yet. Without holding back, the marching band blew the audience away with captivating visuals and stunning soloists.

As they announced the lowest-scoring to highest-scoring bands, it suddenly became clear this was going to be a very high-scoring competition for Lakota West. The group was announced as earning the regional titles for Outstanding Music, Outstanding Visual, and General Effect, while also being the class champion. 

Finally, the top two finalist bands were announced. Goshen, who had been the biggest competition for the group, scored in 2nd place with 77.70. Lakota West was then announced for the 3rd consecutive year as Obetz Regional Champions, with a record-breaking score of 80.15, the highest early season score the band (and the competition entirely) had ever seen. 

Many students felt getting a “3-peat” was such an important part of the band’s legacy and retaining that would be essential for the program’s future. Adam Ardila, a senior band member who acts as the center marimba for the front ensemble, expressed his thoughts on winning the highly sought-after regional title for 3 years in a row.

“I remember the first win (in 2021)…I wasn’t expecting a win mainly because I was more focused on playing…If we remain humble and share common goals, we (the band) could achieve more than we expect.”

Mel Ahn, a senior flute player who solos in the show, gave us insight into why the band is so significant to her, and the significance of the band’s recent years of increasing achievement.

“The majority of my friends are in band, and it’s brought me so much joy in my life. I found it was what I wanted to do as my career, and that sense of community makes it so special to me. And that feeling of winning Obetz last weekend and the rush of adrenaline! I want everyone to be able to feel that. I think it’s amazing how far this program has come…it shows the achievement of the band and the hardworking kids and the dedication from our staff.”

With such a substantial lead over anyone who had seemed to be a threat to the title of regional champion, the students of Lakota West went home knowing that they had made their reputation clear to anyone watching: the Lakota West Marching Band was not your average high school marching band.

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About the Writer
Thomas Price, Website Manager
Thomas Price is a second-year student in Journalism who has been heavily involved in The West Press over the last school year. He participates in many of Lakota’s extra-curricular and in-school programs, such as being a member of the Hope Squad, Junior Board, Lakota West Drumline, performer in the Marching Band, and a Percussionist in Symphonic Winds. As a creatively driven student, Thomas is also skilled in many technical areas, whether through the use of photography, video design, or media creation. Through The West Press, he focuses on writing local news and opinion articles, giving daily insight into the good and bad West has to offer to its students and staff.

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    @jollyjollyelf13Dec 12, 2023 at 10:31 am

    I loved reading this article!!!! Slay Thomas SLAY