Bands to vie for honors

October 13, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

The band from Caesar Rodney High School in Delaware will show up at Severna Park Saturday night in seven buses with a tractor-trailer full of equipment. The band from Chesapeake High on Mountain Road might be able to get there in one school bus.

But their members will have the same thing in mind. Putting on the best show they can to impress the judges and go home with the trophy for first place in their class at Severna Park High School's 16th annual Tournament of Bands.

Caesar Rodney has an advantage. With 210 members, the band competes in a class by itself. The only band that is nearly as large is Severna Park, which is not competing because it is the host for the show.

Chesapeake, on the other hand, will compete against two others in its class, those with 35 members or less.

The other bands are in categories of 36 to 50 members and 41 to 80 members.

The bands play Broadway show tunes, classical pieces, pop tunes and an occasional march while performing complicated drill maneuvers on a football field.

They are judged on the quality of their musical performance, the precision of their drill and their overall sound and appearance. Prizes are awarded to the top three finishers in each group and to different sections of the bands.

The contest is sanctioned by the Tournament of Bands, a national organization formed to support and serve the development of young people in all forms of musicianship. Many schools join the organization, then sponsor competitions and travel to compete in others.

The Severna Park tournament, which includes 15 bands this year, is the largest annual fund-raiser for the high school marching band, taking in as much as $9,000, said chairman Carl Schneider.

The funds are used to repair instruments and uniforms.

About 5,000 spectators attend the event each year, Mr. Schneider said, each buying their $5 ticket, and some purchasing $3 programs and $2 pins as well.

"To me it's really exciting because when the bands are marching out and the drums start playing their cadence, it just gives you goose bumps," said Laurie Eichen, publicity chairman for the event.

The contest Saturday starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Music and Arts Center in Park Plaza and at the gate the night of the show.

Although the Severna Park band is not competing, it will put on two exhibitions.

Stacey Quintero, a 17-year-old senior at Severna Park who helped coordinate the competition, said her band practices 2 1/2 hours a day for competitions similar to this one, but there is nothing like the real thing.

"Competition is very exciting. It's a thrill to be out there with the whole crowd watching," she said.

But marching band contests are more than just fun for the students, said Mr. Schneider.

"It's a real growing experience for them. It gives them the opportunity to present themselves in a totally different manner," he said.

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