The Lakewood High School band, with flame-emblazoned flags, took first place in Class B at the 2018 Saxon Invitational. The Vikings will play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
One of the largest scholastic marching band competitions in the state will kick off this Saturday in Hastings.
Spencer White, who co-directs the Hastings band program with Jen Ewers, said the invitational is one of many events the school district hosts – and one of the largest. A total of 20 bands from across West Michigan will be performing.
“They will bring 48 buses, 40 trailers, one semi, 27 band directors, and over 2,300 students to our school,” White said.
Numerous volunteers, mostly Saxon band parents, will direct traffic, including those 48 buses and hundreds of parents; work the concession stands; sell programs; and accompany visiting bands through an orchestrated process.
The public is welcome to attend. All events will take place at Johnson Field, near the high school at 520 W. South St. In case of inclement weather, the invitational will be moved indoors to the main gym of the high school.
Admission for adults is $6; students or seniors, $5; children 5 and under, free.
The program costs $5 and includes a coupon for buy one, get one free at the Gun Lake Casino Harvest Buffet, a free Hastings Bands pen, and a free "You've Got Mail" message to be read over the intercom.
Concession items will include grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, pizza, "marching tacos" and more.
The event serves as a major fundraiser for the Hastings Band Boosters.
“We love seeing Hastings starting to become a destination place for performances of all kinds,” Ewers said.
The lineup includes:
12:15 – Harper Creek
12:30 – Fennville
12:45 – Hopkins
1:00 – Lakewood
1:15 – Parchment
1:45 – Bridgman
2:00 – Maple Valley
2:15 – Decatur
2:30 – Dowagiac
2:45 – Gobles
3:00 – Bangor
4:15 – Niles
4:30 – Ionia
4:45 – Otsego
5:00 – Wyoming
5:15 – Mattawan
5:45 – Kalamazoo Central
6:00 – Grand Ledge
6:15 – Grandville
6:30 – Hastings, exhibition
The Saxon band, although not competing as a host band, is coming off of a major win at the Otsego Invitational Sept. 29. Hastings placed first out of six Class B bands at the Otsego Marching Invitational. The Saxons also won all caption awards including best music, best marching, best percussion, and best color guard.
“It was a great accomplishment,” White said.
The last time the band won all captions was in 2010 at the Gull Lake Invitational, he said, and the last time the band took first place at the Otsego invitational was around 2005.