Arcanum Marching Band travels to State and beyond


By Dawn Hatfield

ARCANUM — The Arcanum High School Marching Band performed at the OMEA State Finals in Piqua on Sunday, Nov. 6, earning a Superior (I) rating. This, however, does not mark the end of the band’s competition season as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., this week to participate in the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

The 47-member, Class B band qualified for State during their third competition by earning a Superior (I) rating on Oct. 15 at the Piqua Invitational. Assistant Director Megan McFaddin recalled that day, “For me the most memorable part of the season was definitely the Piqua competition. [Director] Bryce was sick, so I had to run rehearsal and take the band to the competition by myself. I was so nervous I would let them down and not do a good job. But I had an army of band parents and seniors who believed in me and rallied behind me. We ended up placing second and getting a score that qualified us for state. That was my first time ever leading a band by myself, and I will forever remember that moment in my mind.”

“Qualifying for State was definitely a very exciting moment for all of us. It was a great relief and confirmation that things are going the way they should be,” added Bryce Hopwood, director.

The 2022-2023 season features the band marching to “Sweet,” a candyland-themed performance which grew out of a play on words from Holst’s First Suite in E-flat and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, both featured in the program. Hopwood explained the show’s creation: “Our music arranger, Randal Standridge, wrote the show and came up with the general theme. We hand the music off to a drill writer and give them our ideas for what we want the show to look like. It’s a mostly collaborative process,” Hopwood said.

Hopwood and McFaddin are both in their first years at Arcanum-Butler. McFaddin is a 2016 Arcanum graduate who attended Wright State’s music education program (2020 graduate) with Hopwood. Hopwood graduated the Wright State program in 2019 and went on to teach for two years as a middle school band and orchestra teacher in Lima before taking over Arcanum’s band program this year.

When asked how it felt to earn Superior at State at the close of his very first season, Hopwood replied, “Absolutely incredible! That is a moment I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am so proud of this group of students and what they have done this year.”

McFaddin, who was hired only a week before band started, said, “It felt amazing to receive a Superior rating at State for my first year! The students worked so hard for it and overcame so many trials and tribulations to get to where they are now. I am beyond proud of them, and I am so lucky I got to help them and watch them grow over the last three months.”

Both Hopwood and McFaddin credit the students with the season’s success. “The success of this season belongs solely to the students and the hard work that they put in. They committed their time and effort to making this show great,” said Hopwood.

McFaddin added, “I think the success of the band comes from the students’ hard work, the support of the administration and community, and the wonderful music booster group we have. Bryce and I are both new and the students helped us adapt to their traditions.”

This week, the band will travel to Indianapolis on Thursday, Nov. 10 to perform at Lucas Oil Stadium in Bands of America (BoA) at 10:30 a.m. This will be the first time the Arcanum High School Marching Band has ever performed at BoA Grand Nationals. describes the BoA event as the “premier marching band event in the nation” where bands from across America compete. The field competition features approximately 100 bands in preliminary competition on Thursday and Friday, with up to 36 bands advancing to semi-finals during the day on Saturday, Nov. 12. Twelve bands advance to finals on Saturday evening.

Be sure to follow Arcanum A Sharp Music Boosters Facebook page for photos, videos, and updates as Arcanum High School Marching Band competes at BoA. Preliminary awards and announcement of semi-finalists will occur at 9 p.m. Friday.

Hopwood spoke to upcoming plans for Arcanum’s band, “Some of my goals for the future are to grow the size of the band and to continue building on the long history of success the band has had. I have some ideas cooking up for next season’s show; however, it’s too early for me to say much about it.”

McFaddin hinted, “We do have some cool ideas for next year!”

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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