SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is officially less than a week away and one local high school march band is preparing for their big day at the track.
Race weekend is filled with all sorts of special traditions, and one of those traditions is like a badge of honor to the Speedway High School Marching Band.
The group is the only high school marching band that plays at the 500. Each member also proudly wears the IMS logo on their uniform.
Their march is part of a long-standing tradition. Each year comes with a new beat and new melody, but all of which is still part of that very special privilege.
“The kids really get into it every year,” Band Director Amy Mohl said. “It’s just such an honor to be a part of it.”
The band triumphantly takes its tune right onto the track every race day.
“We are the only high school in the world that gets to do this every year,” Mohl said. Every year.”
Mohl said the group’s march comes with quite a bit of hometown pride.
“We are part of Speedway,” she said. “We are part of the tradition.”
With every breath and pride-filled note comes a lot of emotion for each member, especially seniors who have grown to love the long-standing tradition.
“It’s a weird feeling, being a senior, and now looking back at this will be the last time I’ll be marching with this group of people,” senior Corbin Austin said.
A younger student said they are proud to fill their shoes and carry on the torch.
“I feel like it’s such an honor just to, sorry I’m trying not to cry,” sophomore Angie Hill said as she held back tears. “It’s such an honor to be with this group.”
Hill will play a special role in the festivities. She is the Color Guard Captain and will be front and center of the group carrying the checkered flag.
“It’s so fun,” she said. “And just to be there as a part of the color guard, it’s really emotional.”
Behind every step, hours of work and dedication all lead up to one moment.
“It really takes a lot out of you,” Austin said. “But it’s really fulfilling once you get done.”
The reasons become so clear as soon as they hit the streets. The group will play a wide range of songs from Lady Gaga to the Black Eyed Peas as they add to the weekend excitement
“It’s such a surreal feeling knowing that there are so many different people from so many different places that are watching you as you march along that track,” Austin said.
As they march into race weekend, the anticipation keeps building. The band is ready to welcome thousands of fans to the 107th running of the greatest spectacle in racing.
The Speedway High School Marching Band will march in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday as part of the 500 Festival and then will be back at it again in Speedway on race day.