Screeching trumpets, heart-thumping drum beats and crisp, colorful uniforms will be on display all day Saturday in northwest Houston.
The HISD marching band scene will be descending on Delmar Stadium, participating in the third annual HISD marching band festival. Bands from 17 high schools and five middle schools will perform for a panel of judges. But this is a "musical scrimmage" format, meaning no UIL distinction will be given. There will be trophies and bragging rights.
"[The festival] isn't meant for competition, it's to show what the students are learning in their schools," said Dr. Susan Vaughan, the Secondary Fine Arts Curriculum Manager for HISD. "It's a different format then we've used ... but we're super excited about it."
The full-day of music will begin at 10 a.m. with Revere Middle School playing the "Star Spangled Banner" and end shortly after 5 p.m., following the final performance of the day from Lanier Middle School.
With University Interscholastic League competition coming up in the following weeks, the hope is that the festival will serve as a practice run for HISD bands in a competition-type setting.
"Since this isn't a competition, we're thinking the bands will be more relaxed and perform even better," Vaughan said.
If you recall a story the Press published in mid-August, "Battle of the Bands," you'll know that this is a devoted bunch of students and band directors. While most of us were working on our tans or vacationing, many of these students spent their summers in the brutal heat, working on formations, fitness and musicianship.
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And they did so under the watchful eye of their respective directors, who tend to have a keen eye for detail and aren't shy when it comes to using their whistle. Come performance time on Saturday, you won't see directors at work, but you should be able to easily identify them -- they'll be the ones trying to play it cool, hiding their smiles, or they'll be grinding their teeth and cringing when they notice minuscule imperfections.
Trust us, this won't be your grandfather's marching band music. There will be modern music with a big band flare. We're checking the betting odds on at least one Lady Gaga or Usher song being played.
The event is free and open to the public. For a peak at what to expect this weekend, check out the Lamar High School performance from 2008. (NOTE: There shouldn't be any of the home video recording crap appearing in your view come Saturday.)