November 12-14: BOA Grand Nationals

The Michigan competitions may be over, and most bands are packing away the marching percussion equipment and disassembling the props. Chair tests are starting, and Holiday Music is likely being learned. For a few bands, however, this week is a rush of rehearsal, packing, and making the trek to Indianapolis for the BOA Grand Nationals held at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Michigan bands competing in Nationals this year include: Rockford, Mt. Pleasant, Troy Athens, Jenison, White Lake Lakeland, and West Bloomfield.

A quick explanation of the event:

Bands that have entered the contest will compete in Prelims, which spans Thursday and Friday. Unlike MCBA or SMB, bands compete regardless of class and perform in a random order. On Friday, the Semifinalist bands will be announced. Semifinalists will consist of the top 11 scoring bands per day (11 for Thursday, 11 for Friday) plus the next 8 highest scoring bands (once the 22 are removed, regardless of performance day). Additionally, while bands are not judged based on class, BOA ensures that each class has representation, and will advance the two highest scoring bands per class, per day, should they not advance in the “Top 22” or “Next 8”. Semifinals will have a minimum of 30 bands, and may have up to 36 bands.

Saturday, Semifinals competition is held with the bands that advanced. Bands perform in a (mostly) random order [placements from Prelims determine which performance “blocks” a band is placed in, but within these blocks, the order is random]. Again, these bands are judged regardless of class. At the end of Semifinals, Class Placements are announced (first, second, and third), plus Caption awards. It’s true: bands are judged regardless of class. The judges are not informed which class a band is in. However, the tabulation team does know, and can determine how bands place for this Awards ceremony.

The top 12 scoring bands in Semifinals, regardless of their classes, will advance to Finals. Bands, once again, perform in a random order [determined by a director’s draw during Semifinals sign-in]. Should a Class Champion not advance based on score, they will be invited to perform in exhibition during Finals, before or after competition (depending on the day’s overall schedule and number of Class Champions that do not advance). After all Finalist bands performs, Placements and Caption Awards for Finals are announced.

BOA’s Classes (A, AA, AAA, AAAA, or 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, respectively) are treated much like MCBA’s Flights. Every few years, BOA assess the cut off numbers in an attempt to fairly divide participating bands based on school size (10-12 enrollment).

Despite some misunderstanding I’ve seen online in the past, bands do not have to attend a BOA regional to attend Grand Nationals, which has a “first-come/first-serve” sign-up process, with room for approximately 90 competing bands.


Tickets can be purchased at Lucas Oil Stadium, or can be ordered online. For more information about tickets, please visit Music for All’s site. A price overview is listed below:

A single-day Prelims ticket (Thurs. or Fri.) costs $23, and is general admission.
A two-day Prelims ticket (Thurs. & Fri.) is $36, and is general admission.

A Semi-Finals ticket (Saturday) is $38, and is general admission.

Finals tickets (Saturday night) range from $16 to $116, depending on seating section, and are assigned seats.

BOA is streaming this event online! The cost ranges from $24.95 per Prelims Day, to $68.95 for the entire contest. More information can be found on Music For All’s site.

Michigan Performances

Thursday Prelims:

  • Rockford – 09:15 AM
  • Mt. Pleasant – 09:30 AM
  • Troy Athens – 12:45 PM
  • Jenison – 10:15 PM

Friday Prelims:

  • White Lake Lakeland – 12:15PM
  • West Bloomfield – 12:45 PM

For full competition line-ups, see our schedules: Thursday Prelims and Friday Prelims.

We will post Semifinals and Finals schedules as they become available. We will be attending Semifinals and Finals this Saturday. Watch our Twitter (@mimarching) for updates throughout the day!

Location Information

Lucas Oil is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The address is 500 South Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225.

Much of the parking at the stadium is utilized for performing band equipment. There are several surface lots around Lucas Oil Stadium that are available for spectator parking. There are also several third-party privately-owned lots that offer parking as well. Indianapolis Parking Garages are available downtown, but may require a decent walk (some of the closest lots are past the Convention Center, approximately one-half mile from the stadium).

Not many restaurants are immediately around Lucas Oil Stadium. However, there are many restaurants in Downtown Indianapolis. Lucas Oil Stadium is about one-half mile from the Circle Center Mall. There are several restaurants within and around the mall.

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