Fourteen high school marching bands came to Jacksonville State University on Saturday, Oct. 6th in order to compete in the “Contest of Champions” at Paul Snow Stadium. Bands came from several states in the southeast, including Georgia and Tennessee.
Several of the bands came hoping to beat out their rivals and to be ranked in the top of their class and division.
The competition was hosted by JSU’s own Marching Southerners, who worked the event by selling programs or cleaning up the stadium after the competition.
“Bandograms" were sold at the event and announced over the sound system. For those who do not know, a "Bandogram" is a message of support, an inside joke, or even a quote that band members or their parents can send out to their band.
The bands performed their halftime show that they normally exhibit at football games to an audience and panel of judges.
The variety in the themes of the shows at the Contest of Champions this year was very diverse. Songs ranged from hymns to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Katy Perry’s “Firework” to originally composed songs.
The Locust Grove High School Marching Band of Locust Grove, Georgia performed a show inspired by Cirque de Soliel's La Nouba, complete with exotic color guard costumes and neon props.
The Sparkman High School Marching Senators of Huntsville, Ala., performed a show entitled "I, Robot", which included moments where the whole band was doing the Robot to automated music that sounded like today's dubstep.
Dr. Ken Ozzello, who is the director of the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama, attended the event as a judge.
Bands are scored based on marching ability, sound quality, and the aesthetics of their performance.
The individual sections of the band, such as the color-guard, drum major, majorette/dance line, and the percussion section, are also given scores based on their performance. Bands can be given a score of Superior, Excellent, or Good.
The Marching Southerners performed as the exhibition band at the end of the competition. They performed their 2012 program "I'll Fly Away", which was definitely admired by those in attendance.
The big winner of the competition was Sparkman.
The band was the largest in attendance at the competition. They scored all superior ratings, best in class, the John T. Finley Award, and several others.
The Bands of America Regional Competition will be held at Paul Snow Stadium on Oct. 13th, with the Marching Southerners scheduled to perform again at the event.