Events Links Resources


The Spotlight presents news and articles on topics related to marching bands and pageantry arts.

Share this page:

View more articles

Suggest an article topic
Popular articles

Prep your body for marching season

12 Holiday Gift Ideas for Marching Band Fans

Cavalcade of Bands Honor Band

Pride of the Dutchmen Marching Band

German bugle band makes its mark at Calgary Stampede

Marching bands to honor 9/11 anniversary

Traveling Efficiently

Specialized Marching Band Carts

Working With a Travel Agent

Fiesta Bowl Memorable for Norton Band

'Band Nerds' Holiday Poem

Drum beat sparks music passion

Sport, Art, or...Spart?

Musical Growth Spurt

First Day of Rehearsal

Troopers Drum Corps Documentary

Ripped Jeans And Self-Esteem

Boot Camp For Bands

Benefits of Indoor Percussion

Secrets of a Successful Audition

A Disappearing Act

One More Time Around Again Marching Band

Steamboat Springs Ski Band

Band Boosters Support Dreams

Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band

Rose Parade Float Honors Marching Bands

Throw It Down Movie

Bob McGrath inspires on Sesame Street

Rose Parade Float Decorators

Bugles Across America

High School Musical Choreographer Bonnie Story

Working in Harmony at Fillmore Central H.S., Harmony, Minnesota

Marching Amidst the Glaciers at Colony H.S., Alaska

Empowering Multiplicity at Trenton Peabody H.S., Tennessee

Visualizing the Extraordinary at Sebring H.S., Florida

Henson blends winter guard with puppetry in Panther & Crane

Competition: How important is it?

Band Nerds Poetry Book

Capturing Show Design Ideas

Halftime Magazine Debuts

From The 50 Yard Line Movie

Three Tips for Cleaning Drill

American Band Book

YouTube Marching Videos

Brentwood Band plays on Brad Paisley CD

Macy's Marching Band

Broken Arrow Documentary

Color Guard Flag Design

Marching Band Health Tips

European Flower Parades

Home > Spotlight > BOA at Lucas Oil Stadium

Bands of America beginning new era at Lucas Oil Stadium

Grand National Championships move from RCA Dome

By Ken Martinson,

Lucas Oil Stadium was completed in 2008 and is within walking distance of the old RCA Dome site in downtown Indianapolis. Bands of America's storied history begins a new chapter November 12-15, 2008, when the Grand National Championships move to a new home at the Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. The championships were previously held at the neighboring RCA Dome, which is being dismantled to make room for a convention center expansion.

The move comes with both great excitement for the future and warm sentiment for the past, according to Debbie Laferty Asbill, director of marketing and communications at BOA's umbrella organization, Music For All.

"The RCA Dome was part of my professional life since 1985 and I truly believe that much of the innovation in marching arts was focused in that building," Laferty Asbill said. "That innovation will now carry on in the new Lucas Oil Stadium."

The RCA Dome hosted the Grand National Championships from 1984 to 2007, with the exception of two years (1987-1988) when the event was held in the Pontiac Silverdome due to schedule conflicts. The 2008 move marks the first new location for Grand Nationals in 20 years.

Bring On The Bands

A large black curtain is used at Bands of America events in Lucas Oil Stadium to create a backdrop for the performing bands. The state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Stadium promises to serve fans and participants well for many years. BOA sponsored a "Sound Check" in September which gave bands a chance to experience the acoustics in the new facility and allowed organizers to test the flow and logistics in the new venue.

The building made a strong first impression on Wayne Markworth, BOA judge and former director at Centerville (Ohio) H.S., when he attended the Sound Check event.

"It's a first-class venue," Markworth said. "For spectators, the building is visually appealing, and everything is functional ... the layout, entries, seating and concession areas. People I talked to said there was an easy flow through the building."

Spectators will notice a large black curtain on the back side of the field. The curtain creates a clean backdrop for the bands and helps define the performance area as a "stage." Spectators will also notice a different sound in the new venue.

"The acoustics are much better for the audience in Lucas Oil Stadium," Markworth said, noting the absence of the "bounce or ping" that could be heard when sound interacted with the RCA Dome roof.

The stadium also provides opportunities for BOA to offer spectators new seating options at Grand Nationals.

"'Club Experience' seating is in the stadium's club area, with roomier, padded seats, access to the club lounges with exclusive concession and restroom areas and prime viewing locations," Laferty Asbill said. "Regardless of the level of seats, spectators experiencing Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time are truly wowed by the spectacular interior of the building."

Band alumni who gathered in the RCA Dome for a Last Trip Through The Airlock snapped photos as the airlock doors opened. Honoring The Tradition

In 2007 during the final Grand Nationals in the RCA Dome, Bands of America invited former marching members to come back for a "Last Trip Through The Airlock." The airlock refers to the series of enclosed spaces bands went through to enter the performance field, which was necessary to maintain air pressure required to inflate the dome roof.

The airlock event drew marching members of all ages, from Jonathan Anderson who won a championship ring with Broken Arrow (Oklahoma) H.S. the prior year, to Debra (Elingburg) Barbour who won the championship with Rocky Mount (North Carolina) H.S. in 1984, the first year Grand Nationals were held in the RCA Dome.

Smiles and memories flowed easily among the alumni who had gathered, and it was evident that marching band had been a positive part of each person's high school experience.

"The people I've kept in touch with and consider my best friends from high school are all somehow related to band," Barbour said. "You spend that many hours with people, and you can't help but have them be part of your life."

Band alumnus Debra Barbour spoke on camera to Dan Potter during the 2007 Last Trip Through The Airlock in the RCA Dome. Barbour brought several pieces of memorabilia, including her championship medals and the 1984 Grand Nationals program book. The photos in the book triggered her to remember that her marching career took place before the innovations of the "pit."

"There's a lot more on the sideline today," Barbour said. "When I marched, everything had to move. We had a set of bells on the sideline but it was played only for a moment."

Rocky Mount H.S. holds special distinction in Bands of America history. The band was the first Grand National Champion in the RCA Dome. The band had also won the championship the year before, which was the last time the event was held at ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee. Those wins in 1983-1984 meant the band was the first to win back-to-back championship titles.

Every Grand National Championships brings memories for the participants and highlights for the spectators, but 2008 promises to be extra special. Don't miss the first Grand Nationals in the beautiful new Lucas Oil Stadium.

For ticket and schedule information, view the Grand National Championships event profile on, or visit

Lucas Oil Stadium photos courtesy of Music For All. Airlock event photos by

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.

2023 DCI Championships Photos

2023 DCI Photos

2023 Fall Marching Band Events

Facebook on Facebook

Working on your next marching show? Find Band Uniforms and select Marching Band Music Arrangers in the Resource section.

Support Music logo