21 marching bands do battle in 17th Southern Showcase
Published: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:47 p.m.
The marching bands played throughout the day and into the late night.
Some played with a traditional style the focused on loud bass and heavy horns. Others performed what is called a core style, which focused on classical music and a more subtle effect.
In plumed caps, full marching band regalia and sometimes capes, they precisely stepped across the football field at Santa Fe High School in Alachua, executing their choreography.
Santa Fe hosted its 17th Annual Southern Showcase of Champions Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, where 21 high school marching bands - including the bands from Gainesville, Eastside and Buchholz high schools as well as those from P.K. Yonge and Newberry - competed to gain placement in the state finals later this year.
Such regional competitions dictate which bands will move on to the state competition, according to Aaron Safer, percussion director for Santa Fe's Raiders Regiment. Some of the bands that competed Saturday had only about 20 members, while others had 150-200.
"Size doesn't matter in this kind of competition," said Laurie Brown, publicity director for the event.
Newberry High School's Band of Pride, for instance, recently won second place overall and first in its class at the Central Florida Marching Arts Invitational in Leesburg. Newberry, which is in the smallest class category, was one of the smallest marching bands to compete. In that competition, however, Newberry placed above three bands in the largest class.
"I always say big things come in small packages," said Jermaine Reynolds, Newberry's first-year band director.
The Santa Fe High School Raider Regiment, which currently holds the record for winning the most state championships - eight - did not compete in the competition because the band hosted the event. The host school in such competitions typically does not compete to avoid any concerns over favoritism, said Nate Bisco, Santa Fe's band director. Santa Fe's band did perform late in the evening; it was not part of the competition, however.
Marching bands began competing at around 10:15 a.m. and 10 bands were named finalists by early evening. The bands from Newberry, P.K. Yonge, GHS and Buchholz were among the 10 finalists.
Those bands performed Saturday night, with awards being handed out after 10 p.m.
Buchholz's band was awarded Grand Champion of the showcase, while the Fleming Island band finished second and the Gainesville High third.
Putting on such an event is a huge technical feat, requiring a lot of planning, according to Mary Corbett, an organizer and treasurer for the event. However, planning has become more streamlined as organizers have become accustomed to hosting the event over 17 years.
Over 5,000 people were expected at Saturday's event, organizers said.
The event has been one of the main fundraisers for Santa Fe's band through ticket, program and vendor's sales as well as selling ads in the program. In the past, the competition has garnered as much as $17,000 after costs, but on average the band makes about $10,000 for its efforts.
Students need about $1,500 dollars for band-related needs throughout a single year, according to Corbett.
Alachua County has a history of excellence regarding marching band competitions, according to Safer. Such strong competition inevitably leads to rivalries, and such rivalries are particularly keen between Santa Fe, Gainesville and Buchholz. However, these rivalries are respectful - band members offer authentic congratulations when one of the other bands win a competition, Safer said.
"There's a big rivalry, but it's a friendly rivalry," said Safer.
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