John & Patti Aylsworth

A Little History
Part 2

By: John Aylsworth
October 5th, 2005

Springs Valley High School came into being in the fall of 1957. One of the problems was how to meld the two separate schools with the least rancor. Each school had its own band program with its own distribution of first,second,and third players. I probably would have had tryouts but my father had a stroke of genius. On the first day of school he announced that what ever part a member had played in the previous band, they would play that part in the new Springs Valley Band. That decision intergrated the band seamlessly with little hurt feelings. The uniforms were another problem as there was no money for new ones.They dyed all the West Baden and French Lick ones black and those were used for several years.They also needed a new school song, so the band learned all the songs in the yellow school song book and played them for the combined student body, A vote was taken and "Wave The Flag" was chosen.

The Blackhawk Brigade was not always the name of the marching band. For more than ten years, it was simply the Blackhawk Band. I heard my first drum and bugle corps in the summer of 1972 in Indianapolis at the American Legion Parade. I was simply "blown away" by the sound, style of marching, guard, and the neat names like The Phantom Regiment,Troopers,and the Vanguard. On the spot ,I decided to abandon the Big Ten-millitary band style in favor of the corps style. The Springs Valley Blackhawk Brigade was one of the first in the area to perform percussion features with mallet insruments, to use rifles and flags instead of baton twirlers, to play specially arranged music and wear non traditional uniforms. I thought the the band needed a new name to match a new image and the rest is history.

The 1977 State Championship came as a complete suprise. By this time, all our corps style elements were in place and Valley was unique among all other Class C bands. Although the show looks very dated today, it was on the cutting edge of innovation for that era. Our goal for the year was to move up from seventh place the year before. After the performance I had the band stand at attention for awards for the first time ever.To this day I have no idea why. By the time State Champion was announced, there was not a dry eye in that band, but they still had not moved a muscle. After awards we trooped the field playing our drum cadence. I took the trophy home with me so when I woke up, I could check to make sure it wasn't a dream. The Blackhawk Brigade stands at attention for awards to this day.