ROANOKE, Va. – Marching to the drum taps, more than a dozen high school bands from across the region competed in a one-of-a-kind band competition.
Kicking off with a drum major salute, 15 high school bands battled it out on the William Fleming High School field in the first Star City Classic marching band competition.
After arriving at the high school four years ago, William Fleming High School Band Director Michael Sanchez said he saw a lot of potential for the field.
“I saw the facility and how well put together it was,” he said. “I reached out to the other high school in our district and me and the director passed ideas back and forth, and it’s been a few years in the making.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, band students missed a lot of opportunities to work on their craft.
“The students we have now have spent two years where there was no marching band,” Sanchez said. “There were no concerts. There wasn’t anything for them. So to try to instill this love of music and the passion for the art that we do but [have] no outlet to really express it was hard.”
Sixteen-year-old trumpet player Harper Gunn, from William Fleming High School, said she loves watching marching bands because the level of multitasking is a challenge.
“Well, it’s crazy because you have to memorize your music, memorize your dots, make sure you look right, you’re facing the front and you have to stay with the drum major,” she said. “There are so many elements within it. It’s way harder than people think it is.”
Fifteen-year-old Jacob Jackson, from Patrick Henry High School, said to have the competition in his hometown means one less long bus ride.
“I started marching two years ago, and I really enjoying going to all the competitions and traveling,” he said. “But not having to travel to a competition and having everyone else come to us. I think it’s just really cool.”
To wrap up the event, James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes performed, which was followed by an award ceremony.
All profits from the ticket sales will be split up to support both Roanoke high school bands.