Columbus City Schools officials are reviving a tradition in hopes of increasing interest in music programs throughout the district.
The inaugural Columbus City Schools Marching Band Invitational will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Whetstone High School stadium, 4405 Scenic Drive.
Performances by bands from Eastmoor Academy as well as Beechcroft, Briggs, Brookhaven, Centennial, East, Mifflin, Northland, South, Walnut Ridge, West and Whetstone high schools will begin at 11 a.m.
A major get-together for the marching bands and other bands from most Columbus high schools was a tradition years ago, said Jeff Warner, the district's communications director.
Betty Hill-Church, unified arts coordinator for the district, has brought the event back this year, Warner said.
"She's been looking for an opportunity to really help grow our band programs," he said.
"The idea came about in order to get our students more excited about the instrumental programs and actually about the music programs," Hill-Church said.
The goal of the event, which will begin with an opening ceremony during which all the bands will line up to perform The Star-Spangled Banner, is to let students, parents and faculty members see what the music programs are like elsewhere in the district, Hill-Church said.
"The great thing about this is that there's a lot of diversity," she said. "There's different marching styles, different playing styles."
"We're really promoting it to our middle school students and their families as well," Warner said.
Middle school band directors are being urged to have their students attend the invitational so that "kids see the opportunities that are open to them," he added.
Around 800 to 900 students are expected to participate, Hill-Church said. She said the schools include large ones with longstanding and well-supported marching band programs, and others with smaller programs.
"We want them to see that it's possible anywhere, that it's possible for every student in the district to have this kind of thing, but it takes everybody," Hill-Church said. "I think it's important that our parents see their children be anything they want to be."
"This is a very exciting event, and hopefully, the beginning of a tradition that will last for years to come," Hill-Church said in a press release about the event. "Our goal is for students and our community to see the great talent we have from across the district.
"We want to showcase the work of our students and their directors and create a sense of excitement and anticipation for up-and-coming instrumental-music students in CCS."
To close out the event, the Central State University marching band from Wilberforce University will perform its 2013 field show.
Admission to the Invitational is $5 for adults, $3 for students.