FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WAUNAKEE, Wis. (October 12, 2022) – More than 30 high school bands from across the state will march on the UW-Whitewater campus Saturday, October 15 for the 37th annual Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) State Marching Band Championships at Forrest Perkins Stadium, starting at 11:45 a.m. Click here for schedule.
“The WSMA State Marching Band Championships bring thousands of people together, promoting excellence and pride along with a spirit of support and enthusiasm for our marching band youth and their educators,” said Laurie Fellenz, WSMA executive director.
The WSMA State Marching Band Championships are divided into four entry classes (A, AA, AAA and AAAA) determined by total school enrollment. Each band is allowed on the field a maximum of 15 minutes (including entry, performance and exit). A panel of eight judges evaluates bands in five areas: music performance, visual performance, general effect, percussion and color guard. Bands receive verbal commentary recorded in real time during their performance. Bands have a variety of entry options. While the majority of bands march in a competitive class, they may also choose Comments Only (no ratings given or announced), Non-Competitive (numbered score is given but not announced) or Festival Class (award divisions I-IV are given similar to WSMA’s renowned Concert Festival rating system). In each competitive class, “A” through “AAAA,” awards for Best Percussion, Best Musical Presentation, Best Visual Presentation and Best Color Guard are presented, in addition to division awards and the top three awards in each class.
At this year’s championships LeRoy Lee will be officially inducted into the WSMA Marching Band Hall of Fame, which is intended to recognize the contributions made by individuals to the marching activity in Wisconsin.
LeRoy Lee has been a prominent advocate for the marching arts in Wisconsin for over 30 years. In that span, he established two of the most successful marching band programs in the state. At New Richmond High School, Lee put together a parade band that would travel across Wisconsin and Minnesota winning several sweepstake circuits and championship parades. In 1976, the New Richmond High School Marching Band represented the state of Wisconsin in the Inauguration Parade of President Jimmy Carter. The band was also invited to perform at Arlington National Cemetery, one of only a few high school bands to ever do so.
Under his direction, the River Falls High School Marching Band won the Class AA WSMA State Marching Band Championships in 1985; this began the incredible streak of 35 consecutive years of participation. River Falls High School Marching Band would win an additional 10 championships in that span. Described as thoughtful and gracious, Lee left a lasting legacy in the state of Wisconsin through his advocacy for students’ music education and commitment to the WSMA state marching band program. LeRoy Lee always gave credit to his students for the successes that came his way, including this honor.
Family, friends and community members are invited to attend the 2022 WSMA State Marching Band Championships. Tickets $16 online ($20 at gate) for adults; $8 online ($10 at gate) for students 18 and under, senior citizens and undergraduate college students with valid college ID. Children five and under, free admission. For more information, including post-event results, visit wsmamusic.org.
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Founded in 1932, Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) is a non-profit service organization with more than 1,000 member public and private schools. Students from member schools are eligible to participate in WSMA programs, such as District and State Music Festivals, Concert Festivals, State Honors Music Project, State Marching Band Championships, WSMA Aca U and Student Composition Project. WSMA is governed by a board of directors made up of superintendents, principals and other officers from all over the state. WSMA believes music is a basic human need and that all children have the right to experience all that music offers them.