Several high school bands marched their way to recognition Wednesday on the campus of Emporia State University for the 11th Annual Emporia Marching Festival.

William Woodworth and Tracy Freeze of Emporia State University co-chaired the event, which saw 16 high school bands take the field. The groups ranged in size from 15 students to more than 100, according to Woodworth, when they performed their routines in Welch Stadium. He said up to 1,500 students were expected to show up on the ESU campus for the annual event.

“Each high school band prepares a new show for each year, so it is always fun to see all of the new shows from each of the performing bands,” Woodworth said. “Everyone is always looking to out-perform how they did the year prior, and so, in that (respect), the bar is always raised from year to year.”

The festival’s theme this year was “throwback” and students performed routines based around American history in wartime, the Ronin and the 1967 Summer of Love.

After the high school students performed, ESU’s Marching Hornets took the field as well. According to Woodworth, who directs the group as ESU’s Director of Athletic Bands, the Marching Hornets’ performance showcased all facets of the athletic band program, “including our Stingers Dance Team, feature twirler, color guard and, of course, the winds and percussion sections.” The students performed an entrance cadence, the school fight song and five charts in keeping with the theme of the festival.

According to Woodworth, 84 of the students who participate in the Marching Hornets are not music majors. This event gives them a chance to perform.

He said he was pleased to have the bands on campus for the festival.

“Competition is a great motivating factor for the development of bands,” Woodworth said. “Each band works endlessly to try to improve themselves to be better than they were the day before. In addition to the high school band students working to continually improve their skills, this competition gives these students a chance to see our great campus. They also get to see and hear what our (Marching Hornets) can accomplish, and can encourage students to think twice about ESU as a college choice when they graduate.”

The festival ended with Spring Hill High School in first place overall with 93 points, Emporia High School in second place with 85.5 points and Mill Valley High School in third place with 85 points.

Independence High School received outstanding color guard with 90 points and Emporia High School received outstanding drumline with 95 points. Spring Hill High School received outstanding drum major with 90 points.

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