Forty-first LP Joust a rousing success

Mike Lehman, Director of bands at Lake Park, meets with the band before debuting brand new uniforms in their exhibition performance at the 41st annual Lancer Joust.

Mike Lehman, Director of bands at Lake Park, meets with the band before debuting brand new uniforms in their exhibition performance at the 41st annual Lancer Joust.

Jazmyne Barnhill

Lake Park has a proud tradition of hosting its annual Lancer Joust in the beginning of September. The Joust marks the beginning of competition season for many bands and has been running for over 40 years with September 7, 2019 marking the 41st. The Joust is organized in a prelims-finals competition format, with the top ten scores from prelims continuing to finals. 

In the past, there have been over 20 bands attending the festival; this year, eleven bands performed in preliminary competition. Assistant Band Director, Moulee Gupta attributes this to bands using the weekend for extra rehearsal time.

“The groups that have been coming actually fluctuate a lot,” Gupta said, ”More of the competitive groups, more recently, if they don’t come, chances are, they are most likely rehearsing because it’s so early in the season that [bands] just want more time to rehearse than get feedback from a performance when you already know what you need to improve on.”

Lake Park’s schedule has been almost identical on Joust day since at least 1994,  said Gupta, who was a member of the Marching Band in the 90s and has worked with them since 1999. 

The only marked difference, according to Gupta was, “Our rehearsal block was longer, I remember us rehearsing starting at eight for two to three hours before the first band would arrive.”

A typical Joust day for most sections of the Marching Band in the past four years is meeting for breakfast about two hours before rehearsal starts, carpooling to Lake Park, and getting into the performance mindset. As rehearsal begins, the band goes through a competition style warmup– 15 minutes of music rehearsal and 15 minutes of visual rehearsal, before starting what is known as full ensemble. In this, the whole band rehearses and runs sections of their show music to solidify what they have learned and will be performing.

The bands that compete at the Joust are arranged by classes based on the enrollment of the band; Class A is the smallest class and Class AAA is the largest. This is the same for many other competitions as well, however some festivals determine class based on school size instead. During the preliminary competition, each band is ranked according to their class. Of the eleven bands in attendance, three were in class A, three in class AA, and five were in class AAA. The winner of Class A, AA, and AAA respectively were Providence Catholic from New Lenox, IL, Victor J Andrew High School from Tinley Park, IL, and Prospect High School from Mount Prospect.

Prospect was the Grand Champion of the Joust Finals Competition with a score of 77.25. They also received the “Outstanding Visual Performance” and “Outstanding General Effect” awards. While a score of 77 may seem like a “C”, it is a high score for the first competition of the season. 

As the season progresses, bands shoot for scores above 80, and some of the top bands in the country routinely score over 90! However, that excitement comes later in the season.

The Joust allowed many bands a running start into the competition season and gave Lake Park a sense of pride in being the hosts of the first competition of the season in the area. It is a unique opportunity to be able to host so many bands and meet so many other people with the same passion and interest in music.

The Lancer Marching Band has since performed at the home football game on Friday, September 13. Now, they are gearing up for their first competitive performance in the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival, hosted by Wheeling High School.