INDIANAPOLIS — Princeton Community High School's Marching Tigers earned ninth place in the Open Class C division of Indiana State School Music Association's state finals Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Western High School claimed the Class C division championship, while area bands Vincennes Lincoln placed seventh and Mount Vernon High School placed 10th in the Class C competition.

After a week of celebration and rehearsals for the first state finals appearance by the Tigers in 28 years, the band left Princeton shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday — getting a downtown Princeton send-off with signs and greeting from former Marching Tiger Mike Watkins at his business, Uniquely Michaels.

They got a fire department escort as they headed north out of Gibson County and made a stop in Plainfield for an early rehearsal before taking the final leg of the trip into downtown Indianapolis, to compete with the 10 top bands in their class across the state.

As the Tigers prepared to take the field, bus driver and former band member Jonita Greene led a cheer from the stands of the stadium, while a giant stadium screen captured smiles from the band members standing waiting to take the field.

Plenty of former Marching Tigers made the trip to Indianapolis to support the band, including former drum major Dean DeKemper, who broke the Tigers' pre-show silence by standing and shouting "Welcome Back, Princeton!"

Director Scott Salmond's band performed their show, "Hue," featuring the selections music selections “The Walk,” “Tesla’s Dream,” “Pure Imagination” and “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine."

In Open Class D competition, Tell City placed eighth, Southridge placed ninth and Mater Dei High School placed tenth.

In Open Class B competition, F.J. Reitz High School placed fifth, Evansville North placed sixth and Jasper placed seventh.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, Open Class A competition was still in progress. Castle High School is competing in that division.

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