COLUMBIA — MU will host 26 high school marching bands from across Missouri on Saturday for its annual Champion of Champions Marching Band Contest at Memorial Stadium.
Local bands from Battle High School, Rock Bridge High School and Hickman High School will participate in the competition, while other Missouri high school bands will travel to Columbia for the event. The competition begins at 9:15 a.m., and performances continue throughout the day.
"It is always an exciting experience for the students because it's basically a home show," Rock Bridge High School band director Patrick Sullivan said. "We have one pretty elaborate show that is musically and visually arranged for our group with competition in mind. It is a cumulative process that starts in the summer and does not end until tomorrow."
The event marks the end of marching season for many bands, giving participants the opportunity to complete their seasons by performing in a college stadium. Some schools, like Rock Bridge, have been preparing their routines since the summer, while others have had their music picked out as far back as May.
Marching Mizzou will have two performances throughout the day, giving the high school students a chance to see how a college-level marching band performs.
"Champion of Champions is a great opportunity for high school bands to come out and compete," MU percussionist Tony Hodgson said. "A lot of these kids would otherwise never get to play in a stadium this size or be critiqued by judges of this quality."
MU Assistant Director of Bands J. Fuller Lyon said the competition is held every fall as both a fundraiser and recruiting event.
"It's for the kids to be able to see the campus and our stadium," Lyon said. "We will have a recruiting booth set up to offer information and answer questions."
Each school's performance will be judged by music professionals in six different categories: music general effect, music performance, visual performance, visual general effect, percussion and auxiliary.
Lyon said visual effects are judged from the press box and critique how cohesively the band performs and looks from a distance. Performance captions are judged from the field, as a judge observes each performer in terms of his or her individual marching and playing fundamentals.
"The ultimate goal is that everyone in the band looks like the same person," Lyon said.
The competition schedule features a preliminary awards show at 1:45 p.m. for classes 2, 3, and 4A with the 5A awards ceremony at 5:45 p.m. Final awards begin just before 10 p.m.. Admission is open to the public for $5. Parents, friends, students and general spectators are welcome to attend.
Supervising editor is Hunter Woodall.