bandSaint Viator’s Symphonic Band has a long tradition of doing well at the annual State of the Art Catholic Band Festival, but this year, they nailed it.

This year’s festival drew nearly 20 Catholic high schools across Chicago and the suburbs to converge on Brother Rice High School for the 37th annual contest. When it was all said and done, Saint Viator placed 1st in Class AA and also earned “best brass” and “best woodwinds.”

Saint Viator’s band members also won the coveted “Jim Moore Esprit de Corps Award” — named for one of the founders of the contest and its longtime emcee — for their enthusiasm, professionalism and overall contribution to the contest.

At the end of the day, Saint Viator’s score for the day landed the band in 3rd place out of 18 overall, and ahead of one of the AAA bands.

In finishing in first place in class AA, Saint Viator set the bar for the other schools in the class, including St. Ignatius, Brother Rice, and Mother McAuley, Fenwick, Nazareth, Notre Dame/Resurrection, Providence Catholic, Marmion/Rosary and St. Rita.

“I am so proud of these students for their hard work,” said Mr. Vince Genualdi, director of bands. “Our program is about enjoying the journey to the performance and these kids rose to the challenge and had a phenomenal performance as a result of that.”

Members of the Knights of Columbus launched State of the Art in 1982 and they continue to be on hand to present trophies. They created the festival as a way to showcase band programs in Catholic schools — and encourage music education. Over the years, the festival has become quite competitive, with Marian Catholic, a nationally ranked band program, setting the bar for excellence.

Typically, the festival draws bands from Notre Dame, Resurrection, Nazareth, Fenwick, St. Patrick’s, Mount Carmel, De LaSalle, Brother Rice, Mother McAuley, St. Laurence and Queen of Peace high schools, as well as Bishop Noll Institute from Hammond, IN.