Seventeen marching bands from across eastern Missouri are participating in the 18th annual Farmington Marching Invitational on Jack Richardson Field at Haile Memorial Stadium in Farmington on Saturday.
The first band is scheduled to take the field in competition at 1 p.m.
Scheduled to perform at the Farmington Marching Invitational are high schools from Woodland, Ste. Genevieve, Park Hills Central, Hillsboro, Union, North County, Windsor, Sikeston, Grandview, Sullivan, Poplar Bluff, Wentzville Holt, Lafayette, Lindbergh and Cape Central.
According to Tim Karth, Farmington High School band director, the invitational is one of the first marching events of the season.
“With our invitational being one of the first events of the season where bands come to march, it is a testing ground for the bands,” Karth said. “Directors come to see how their show is going and to give a barometer for where (the band) is at.”
Although each band will be performing their half-time show in front of an audience, they will also be performing for six judges who score bands in such areas as best drum majors, best percussion, best color guard among other things. These scores will then be tabulated.
For this weekend’s competition, Karth was able get judges from across the Midwest to come to the invitational.
“This year we have judges coming from Oklahoma, Central Illinois, the band director for Central Methodist University and a couple from St. Louis,” Karth said. “We try and get judges who are not normally seen by the band directors.”
The Black Knight Marching Band will be performing in exhibition on Saturday.
"Traditionally, the host band does not compete in their own invitational,” Karth said. “You perform an exhibition. We still get scored and we will still get judges’ feedback, but our scores do not count toward the other competing bands.”
But for Karth, having the band's first competition on their own turf is quite beneficial in many ways.
“Having the invitational so early is a good thing for our band,” Karth said. “It gives them a chance to compete for the first time in a non-competitive and non-threatening way.”
In addition to allowing the band to work on their show, the invitational also serves a fundraiser for the band.
“This is a very nice fundraiser for the band boosters, “Karth said. “We use the money from the invitational for instruments, for new reeds, for trips the band makes and to basically support the kids. It all goes to help them.”
Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Concession will be available with proceeds benefiting the Farmington Band Boosters