Some History and the Achievements of the Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians Band


Poster for The Federal Music Project


President Roosevelt realized the value of arts in American society stating that the “American dream…was the promise not only of economic and social justice but also of cultural enrichment.”

In July 1935 he created a New Deal program called Federal One, which included five arts projects, of which the Federal Music Project was one.

The Vero Beach band was organized under Federal Music Project by James and Thelma Crowley, who were also the Band Directors for school bands in Melbourne, Fort Pierce, and Stuart traveling up and down the coast between schools on different days.

That was then. Now the Band has 240 members and boasts “First Place,” “Superior,” and “Grand Champion” ratings from Florida to Hawaii.

Here is a terrific video of the Fighting Indian Band’s performance on November 13, 2015 when the Vero Beach High School played Gateway from Kissimmee, Florida.

Here They are at the Conclusion of their Performance

Marching Band.jpg

The band has received 35 consecutive “Superior” ratings at the FBA (Florida Bandmasters Association) District Marching MPA (Music Performance Assessments).

The band has won “Grand Champion,” “First Place,” and a host of caption awards at numerous marching festivals around the State of Florida. Among these are the Pride of Florida Festival, the Naples Tournament of Bands. Central Florida Band Showcase, Kingdom of the Sun Festival, and Isle of Eight Flags Festival.

The marching band has also won marching and parade competitions and superior ratings out of the state including the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, the Fiesta-val Parade in Williamsburg, the Nashville Heritage Festival.

The marching band has also appeared in the Orange Bowl, Walt Disney World, the World’s Fair, Cotton Bowl Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Tournament of Roses Parade, Fiesta Bowl Parade, and also won the “Crowd Pleaser” Award at the Fiesta Bowl Field Competition.

In Hawaii, the band played on the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor and marched in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Celebration of Youth Parade receiving “First Place.” (Source: Vero High School website)

Most recently, on October 24, 2015 the Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians received Superior ratings from all judges at the Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessment in Jensen Beach. Every category and caption was rated Superior and each adjudicator sheet had straight A’s in every area of the sheet. Categories included music, general effect, marching, color guard, and percussion. This marks the 36th consecutive straight superior sweep at this event for the Fighting Indians Band.


Then again, on the weekend of November 7, the entire Fighting Indians Marching Band performed at the Kingdom of the Sun Band Competition in Ocala, Florida, where they received “Superior” ratings in all categories, placing 3rd in their class and 5th overall in the Finals.

It was a contest of high performance bands and it was the Band’s first competition in 11 years.

They also received the “Superior with Distinction” ratings for Musical Performance and Color Guard.

Prior to this competition the Band practiced everyday for two hours for two weeks.


Next stop is the the Band’s competition in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, a five day event in the Atlanta, Georgia Dome from December 27 to January 1st, 2016.

This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Fighting Indians Band, where they will perform with marching bands from around the country in the pre-game show of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

This is the only bowl game in the College Football Playoff system that allows high school students to be part of the mass band show.

They will also march in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl parade through downtown Atlanta.

The Fighting Indians were selected to participate in this event based on a video they submitted a year ago.

It is going to cost each band member $ 900 to participate in this event for the charter travel buses, not including housing and meals.  Do the math: $900 x 240 members = $ 216,000.

They have raised all this money on their own.

They also have to pay for their own instruments; although if a band member is not able to afford one the High School will help.

That’s why they actively pursue fundraising and where I ran into them at Publix.  After speaking with a few of the members I said wow.  Does the community know about all this?

Go Go Go Fighting Indians at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.


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