Fifteen Bands to Perform at Vicksburg’s Stadium Oct. 8

If you are excited by the pomp and precision of marching bands, October 8 is your lucky day!

A new marching band event is coming to Vicksburg on Saturday, October 8, as the Vicksburg Band Boosters hosts the inaugural Bulldog Invitational marching band competition at the beautiful Vicksburg High School stadium. Fifteen Class A through D high school marching bands are presently scheduled to perform. They include Schoolcraft, Three Rivers, Hackett, Kalamazoo Central, Portage Central, Portage Northern, Mattawan, and Battle Creek Central. Other school bands registered for this event include Plainwell, Charlotte, Bangor, Constantine, Berrien Springs, Springport, and Camden-Frontier.

To close the performance part of the event the Vicksburg High School marching band, known as the Big Red Machine, will present its 2016 competition show—Things—as an exhibition. By custom the host band does not compete with the other bands for a rating.

The bands performing for ratings will be scored by a panel of judges on various criteria, such as music performance, marching accuracy, music effectiveness, and visual effect. The event will feature two awards ceremonies, in which trophies will be presented to the bands scoring first, second or third in their class, and to the bands the judges rated as having the best marching, best music, best percussion, and best auxiliary (color guard) in each class. The band with the top rating across all four classes will take home an impressive Grand Champion trophy.

The inaugural Bulldog Invitational is presently scheduled to begin at 2:55 p.m. on October 8, when the senior class members of the Big Red Machine will perform the National Anthem. The first competing band will step off at 3 p.m. and be followed by the other bands performing at 15 minute intervals, with two or three short breaks for the judges, built-into the schedule. The Big Red Machine will perform its exhibition at 8:30, followed immediately by the second presentation of awards. The complete schedule, including any last minute changes, is available on the Internet at

Whether you are a true “band geek”, or just enjoy marching band performances, this is an event not to be missed, said Craig Rolfe, volunteer chairperson of the Invitational. The nominal admission charge, $5, is less than what is charged at most other marching band competitions, and pre-school age children are admitted free. A variety of food and beverages will be served throughout the event. Volunteers will guide vehicles to available on-site parking, and to nearby village streets for overflow parking. Over 42 buses and 1500 band people are expected be in attendance so the logistics for the day will be challenging. Helping Rolfe plan are Beth O’Roark, food and beverage; Jake Munson, bands management; Steve Warner, print program; Ben Rosier, judges; Tracy Locey, treasurer; Skip and Chad Knowles, parking coordinators; Dianne Zeman and Lisa Hoover, stadium management.

The Vicksburg Band Boosters are working hard to make this event an enjoyable experience for all, and a successful fundraiser for the Vicksburg Bands. A strong showing of support for this inaugural event, by the participating bands and an expected large audience, will help establish the Bulldog Invitational as the premiere annual marching band competition in this area, according to Rolfe.

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