For the second year in a row, Madison Central High School is the state marching band champion among Kentucky's largest schools.
Madison Central won first place Saturday in the 5A division of the Kentucky Music Educators Association State Marching Band Championships in Bowling Green.
Police escorted the band to the school Sunday for a celebration. Band director Brent Barton estimated 200 to 250 people attended.
"It's a huge thing," Barton said of the championship.
Madison Central finished behind North Hardin in the semifinal round of the competition earlier Saturday, but rehearsed between rounds and turned up its performance a notch to edge the Hardin County school in the final, Barton said.
"Our kids really stepped up," he said. "They played very passionately and very emotionally."
Barton lauded the leadership of Madison Central's four field commanders — juniors Callie Boggs, Gemma Saylor and Renee Richburg, and sophomore Aly Norton.
Winning a state championship takes an incredible amount or work by everyone involved, however.
The band practices every day except Wednesday for hours, Barton said.
"There's 200 great kids in that marching band," he said.
Here are the final standings in each of the five divisions, listed in order from first to fourth:
1A: Beechwood, Murray, Williamstown, Hazard.
2A: Estill County, Garrard County, Glasgow, Washington County.
3A: Adair County, Bourbon County, Russell County, Boyle County.
4A: Grant County, Madisonville North Hopkins, Anderson County, Hopkinsville.
5A: Madison Central; North Hardin, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lafayette.