“Connecting the Divide” is the theme of the Grandville Bulldogs who went on to take first place in Class AA.
Dressed as astronauts, artists, outlaws, Mickey Mouse and more, some 2,300 students from 20 marching bands presented their halftime shows Saturday in Hastings. Musicians delivered solos on instruments ranging from piccolo to baritone and trombone to soprano saxophone. A teen mariachi band even assembled to add to a Latino performance.
The overall theme for the day, however, may have been “close.”
Two Class C bands tied in scoring (placing then had to be determined by Scholastic Marching Band Judging System rules) and only one-tenth of a point separated two bands in both the Class AA and Class D competitions.
The 28th annual Hastings High School Marching Band Invitational began earlier in the day than initially scheduled because of concerns with mosquitoes and Eastern equine encephalitis. If not, it may have been a close call whether the event finished before rain moved in later that night.
Even some of the show themes were close, as in similar: “Swingin’ Through Time” and “Decades,” superlative entertainment in “The Greatest Showman,” “The Best of Broadway” and “The Magic of Disney.” This 50th anniversary year of the Moon landing also drew shows titled “One Small Step” and “One Giant Leap.”
Hastings band co-director Spencer White called the event a massive success, adding that visiting band representatives said they’d had a great experience.
“Directors appreciate how organized and friendly the event is …,” White said. “An example of our hospitality is that sometimes when a [performing group] arrives, they realize that they forgot something. We will do what we can to help them in that situation. This year, it happened to be a band needing to borrow a trombone.”
Band parents, including some whose children graduated long ago, are essential to success of the invitational.
“There were so many people that worked hard to make the event possible,” White said. “The parents of the band [members who] donated their time at the event are the unseen heroes of the event.”
Results, including placement, score, program and special awards include:
Bridgman, first, 78.2, “Into the Darkness.”
Bangor, second, 78.1, “The Best of Broadway;” best musical performance, best marching.
Gobles, third, 76.3, “One Giant Leap;” best percussion.
Dowagiac, fourth, 75.9, “Mamma Mia – the Music of Abba;” best color guard, best field commander.
Harper Creek, fifth, 72.3, “Rebel.”
Maple Valley, sixth, 68.9, “Swingin’ Through Time.”
Decatur, seventh, 65.9, “Decades.”
Fennville, first, 77.4, “She Is …,” best musical performance.
Parchment, second, 77.4, “Marooned;” best marching, best color guard.
Lakewood, third 76.1, “This is Me,” best percussion.
Hopkins, fourth,73.3, best field commander.
Otsego, first, 88.8, “Viva La Verdi – the Art of Life in Reverse;” best musical performance, marching, percussion, color guard and field commanders.
Ionia, second, 85.6, “Crossing Boundaries.
Niles, third, 72.3, “Into the Jungle.”
Mattawan, first, 89.8, “Outlaw;” best musical performance, marching, percussion, color guard and field commanders.
Wyoming, second, 80.4, “La Importancia de Familia.”
Grandville, first, 92.5, “Connecting the Divide;” best musical performance, marching, percussion, color guard and field commanders.
Grand Ledge, second, 92.4, “The Magic of Disney.”
Kalamazoo Central, third, 86.7, “Sound Czech.”
As host, Hastings did not compete, but the 146-member Saxon marching band presented its halftime show, “One Small Step.”