John Glenn holds pep rally for marching band's state final appearance

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WALKERTON, Ind. (WNDU) - Four Michiana high school marching bands are getting in gear to compete at the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend.

In Walkerton, John Glenn students and staff held a pep rally to get fired up for some fierce competition.

The students are ready for what is certainly a momentous occasion for the John Glenn Falcons marching band.

"Be in Lucas Oil, 1:20 p.m., you'll see John Glenn Falcon pride," drum major Connor Arick said.

"I arrived here 13 years ago, and the year prior, so 14 years ago, our band did go to state, and we have not gone to state since," said William Morton, the school's principal.

That is about to change as the band heads to Indy, along with Penn, Fairfield and NorthWood high schools.

The Falcons have been climbing back after the loss of their band director, Daniel Fortlander, in 2017.

"We've continued to grow. This year the music is the most difficult music we've done here, and they're obviously having some success with it this year and we're all celebrating that,” band director Nathanael Sudduth said.

They're ready to get on the field looking for that state championship on Saturday, and it’s been a long road to get here.

"It’s the first time in 13 years, especially it’s the first time in Class C, that we've been able to make it to state. It’s just awesome, we've never made it here before, and all the work that the band and I have put into the show, it's incredible to see how far we've come,” Arick said.

The band director says it’s the character of this group that has brought them success.

"They're so kind to each other, they build each other up, they're wonderful people to be around, they’re so much fun. The kids are really great musicians, it just is a special group of people,” Sudduth said.

The cohesiveness of the marching band shows, on and off the field.

"Mainly, we're a big, happy family, and we put all our work and all our love and passion and everything into our show and everything we do on the field,” Arick added.

Saturday there's a fan bus taking off from John Glenn High School for parents and students. The band hits the field at Lucas Oil at 1:20 p.m.