What could be better than a marching band in October? The answer is 13 marching bands. If you like high school marching band music, SM North stadium is the place to be Oct. 26 where the SM North Marching Invitational will be held.
SM North will host 12 bands that day, including SM East, performing at Shawnee Mission’s first competitive marching band festival. The host band will perform, but is not part of the competition. More than 1,500 students in the bands will compete in two preliminary divisions. The top three from each division and two additional top point-getters will enter the final rounds.
The bands will be judged on three primary criteria: overall music, visual content and general effect. The 12 bands include schools from Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Wichita, Lawrence, Olathe, Topeka, and Tulsa.
SM North Band Director Chad Reed said the idea for the competitive band festival popped up early this year as he was putting together the band calendar. It is a prime weekend toward the end of the season and no competitions were scheduled and many of the area colleges were at away games. Reed said SM North will usually go to two or three festivals each year.
The Shaw-Mi-No Band Boosters organization has more than 100 adult volunteers ready to host the festival and sell concessions. “The entire community is excited,” Reed said. The SM North stadium capacity is 3,100 and is expected to be nearly full. The approximate time for the festival is 1 to 8 p.m. and admission is $7 with children five and under free.