High school bands march down Broadway as part of annual competition

The Alliance High School Marching Band marches in time down Broadway during the Old West Weekend on Saturday in Scottsbluff.

SCOTTSBLUFF — Music rang through the Scottsbluff business district as high school and middle school marching bands performed in the 35th annual Old West Weekend parade on Saturday.

In front of a large crowd, eight high school bands and three middle school bands marched down Broadway in Scottsbluff Saturday morning during the parade competition and seven bands performed during the field competition that afternoon at Bearcat Stadium.

Bluffs Middle School marching band teacher Michael Koch said his students have spent a lot of time practicing since the beginning of school, but the hardest part is staying in step as they march. The band performed a melody of Disney classics like "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Before the marching bands made their way down Broadway to Bluffs Middle School, they lined up down 15th Street to be judged on their uniformity. Second-year judge Joe Weis said his responsibility is “just making sure that everyone is file and making sure you don’t have waves going through the lines.”

He said the horizontal lines is a large component for scoring, which can be difficult for the students to learn. He also looks at their posture and checks the uniformity of each band member. He knows how the students feel about the competition since Weis performed in the Scottsbluff High School marching band. The difference from being a judge compared to a band member is the stress.

“It’s definitely not as stressful. When you're performing, it means a lot to these kids. As a judge, it’s just nice to give input on what they can change.”

Following the morning competition, the bands took to the field at Bearcat Stadium. Competition wrapped up after 3 p.m.

“Anytime we perform, I see hope for an equal representation of what we’ve been working on. I feel like all the work we’ve done working on the parade and the music has paid off,” said first-year Gering High School marching band teacher Ben Veilleux. “I think they sounded really good. We were a little more out of step than usual, but that’s show business.”

In both the parade and field competitions, the highest award a band can receive is a superior rating. During the parade competition, each band is judged on the rank and file alignment, posture, four factors in musical performance and precision. For the field competition, the judges assess musical quality and performance in the shows.

Check back with the Star-Herald for Old West Weekend results.

Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald in Scottsbluff. She covers education, arts and entertainment and other general assignments. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren. brant@starherald.com.

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