SHERIDAN - The Sheridan Blackhawk Marching Band will head to the State Fair today after a summer of musical adventures in the land Nottinghamshire.
The 27-member squad is hoping to wow the judges with their "Robin Hood" themed routine today in the State Fair Band Day competition.
This year's performance is helmed by Sheridan's Director of Bands, Patrick Cronin, who is approaching his third year as the Sheridan Band director. Although coming up with a winning theme is always difficult, Cronin thinks this year's choice will be a success.
"I think it's a really great show this year," he said. "We are trying to both compete, and make something that is entertaining for the audience as well."
The lead, played by mellophonist Scott Miller, Sheridan High School junior must rescue his Maid Marian, played by Sabrina Light, a senior color guard member, after she is captured by the Sherriff of Nottingham's men.
Robin Hood fans can look forward to bows and arrows, Sherwood forest and a ramshackle castle to boot.
The band, comprised of students from Sheridan's Middle School and High School, has accumulated at least 350 practice hours this summer.
"It's very worth it because being with the band is like being with family - It's really fun," said Claire Purciful, 12, seventh grader and one of the five color guardsmen.
Though Sheridan hasn't had the scoring on their side during the pre-fair invitational, landing 19 out of 22 teams at the Muncie Spirit of Sound Band Contest, and 16 out of 19 teams at the Drums at Winchester competition, they hope that a final practice push before Band Day will give them the edge they need to stand out.
"We sound and look very promising," said Miller. "I'm hoping we do very well at band day. We have good sets, music and marching, so I'm hoping that we do well. If we can get our name on the board then that would be great."
The group also received feedback from the judges after each competition, which they will use to tweak and sharpen their performance.
"It's fun to see the progression, everyone has gotten so much better this summer," said Miller. "Its already not easy to play music on its own, but doing it while marching and following a set can be really challenging."'
Even if the scoring doesn't go their way, the band member's families still know the events are worth it.
"They all get along very well, there's none of the tension or rivalries you might expect" said Deb Miller, Scott Miller's mother. "They never look like they're not having fun when they're performing. They're always having a good time."
The group held their final public dress rehearsal Thursday evening, in front of their friends and family. Though the event hit a roadblock and was moved inside due to unexpected rain.
Sheridan is in class A at Band day. There are 49 other bands competing, ranging from class A, AA and AAA, depending on school size.
Last year Sheridan received third in their class, falling behind Blue River Valley and Bedford North Lawrence schools. Their most recent first place victory in their class was in 2012.
They were 25th place overall in last year's competition.
The Band Day judges will announce the top 16 bands around 5 p.m. tonight. The top 16 will then perform a second time and the final results will be announced later this evening.