Music was king Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium as marching bands and color guards competed for the title at the Pacific Northwest Marching Band Championships.
Gusting winds buffeted the crowd and sent props tumbling in the afternoon, but the bands played on. Many people in the audience wore T-shirts identifying them as supporters of various schools, but they loudly cheered for any band that had an impressive moment on the field.
Each school competed in the morning and afternoon preliminary competitions and then received critiques from the judges on how to improve before the night competition for the grand championship.
Mike Koch, who co-chairs the annual competition, said Joe Albi Stadium has particularly good acoustics for band performances.
“You’re kind of in a bowl and it captures the sound,” he said.
Each routine has a theme and lasts between eight and 10 minutes. Some schools use original music while others use published songs. Each band and color guard has only minutes to get set up and clear the field, which can be a daunting task when elaborate sets are involved.
Each band has been working to perfect their performance since August, Koch said, usually putting in extensive time on the field weeks before school starts.
“All these kids work very hard,” he said. “These young people really deserve to be recognized and encouraged.”
Mt. Spokane High School dazzled with a “Sounds of the Season” performance featuring Christmas music. They mixed quiet and peaceful moments with rising crescendos, firing off a plume of fake snow near the end of the performance.
Defending champion Central Valley High School made its entrance onto the field part of the performance, with the black-clad band members crouching low and prowling after the color guard members who they captured in a dark take on a fairy tale.
Fairy tale characters like Prince Phillip and the evil Maleficent played key roles in the “Once Upon a Dream” performance, and at the end, Prince Phillip killed Maleficent played by drum major Leah Evanson.
The Mead High School Marching Band gave an exhibition performance that was not part of the competition.
The competition judges came from as far away as Los Angeles. Bands were scored on overall performance as well as music, visual, color guard and percussion performance.
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