WAUNAKEE, Wis. (October 15, 2019) – More than 30 high school bands from across the state will march onto the UW-Whitewater campus on Saturday, October 19 for the 35th annual Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) State Marching Band Championships at Forrest Perkins Stadium, starting at 12:15 p.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,” 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 both a written critique and recorded comments from each judge for 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, Rick Kirby 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. Kirby has been integral to the excellence of Wisconsin marching band activities since his arrival on the scene in 1974. In 1976, his Sussex Hamilton High School band was the first to perform at the inaugural Bands of America contest. His New Berlin Eisenhower High School band performed at the first WSMA State Marching Band Championships in 1984. When Waukesha West High School opened its doors in 1993, Kirby became the school’s first band director and worked quickly to establish its strong marching tradition. Under his leadership, the band won three AAAA titles at WSMA State Marching Band Championships. His compositions and arrangements were staples in each of his bands’ repertoire, adding a personal touch to their performances. A fervent marching advocate, Kirby has also mentored band directors new to marching. In 2018, he was honored by Civic Music Association of Milwaukee with a Lifetime Achievement in Music Award. In addition to his achievements, Rick Kirby’s shining character has illuminated the promising future of Wisconsin marching and marked him among its leaders.
Family, friends and community members are invited to attend the 2019 WSMA State Marching Band Championships. Tickets $15 online ($16 at gate) for adults; $8 online ($9 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 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.