Sunday, September 24, 2023

It’s marching band championship season


WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Oct. 24) — Late October and early November mark, each school year except during the pandemic, the marching band championship season across America. Marching bands have polished their shows, thanks to feedback from adjudicators, directors, and other coaches, and they will, over the next few weeks, leave it all on the field.

Shawnee HS performs at the Tournament of Bands A Class Region 1 Championships (Voxitatis)

While many high school marching bands do not participate in a competitive circuit—such as a state championship, Bands of America, the Tournament of Bands, or a number of other circuits—a number of programs do.

The Southern New Jersey region of the Tournament of Bands put nineteen bands on the field this afternoon here at Kingsway Regional High School, ranging from Maple Shade, which put about 10 musicians, including Drum Major Victoria Testa, into a creative show entitled “Music of Hope,” to the 87 marchers in the Millville High School Marching Band, who presented a thematic and patriotic show entitled “Letters from a Prisoner of War.”

The Tournament of Bands is open to schools in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. But very few schools from Maryland or Ohio participate. New Jersey, on the other hand, is divided into three separate TOB regions: South, Central, and North.

The ranking achieved by participating bands at today’s contest, which is in the A Class, not the open and more competitive class, determines the order in which the bands perform at the Atlantic Coast Championships on October 31. The New Jersey State Championships take place on Saturday, October 30.

The open class and the A Class for Tournament of Bands group bands according to the number of musicians on the field, not the enrollment at the high school. Bands with up to 30 musicians and 30 auxiliary units are in Group 1 in either the A class or the O class. Bands with between 31 and 50 musicians and up to 50 auxiliary units are in 2-A or 2-O. Bands with between 51 and 75 musicians and up to 75 auxiliary units are in 3-A or 3-O, and bigger bands are in 4-A or 4-O.

Additional photographs for all competing bands here today are available on our Google Drive. Photos are licensed by the same license as this site. If they are used in print, the credit should read “Paul Katula/Voxitatis.”

Bands of America and its parent organization, Music for All, will conduct its annual Grand National Championships on Thursday, November 11, through Saturday, November 13, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Classes in Bands of America are based on school enrollment, not on the size of the band on the field.

Championship season is a somewhat nostalgic time for bands that compete. For many students, college schedules—or colleges themselves without a marching band—don’t allow them to participate in the marching arts, making the competitive season in their senior year the last time they will march out onto the field in competition.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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