Marching bands converge on Vicksburg Oct. 12, 16

The sounds of marching bands – multiple marching bands – will return to Vicksburg Tuesday, Oct. 12, and again on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Vicksburg High School has again been asked by the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association to serve as a host site for the District XI Marching Band Festival on Oct. 12. Between five and 11 marching bands are expected to participate. The public is invited to attend and concessions will be available. The schedule is on

That’s a prelude to the 6th Annual Vicksburg Bulldog Marching Band Invitational the afternoon and evening of Oct. 16, the first to be held in the renovated high school stadium.

Bands from 16 Class A-D schools are scheduled to perform in the competition, with more than 1,000 students expected to perform. Marching bands from area schools scheduled to attend include Schoolcraft, Portage Central, Three Rivers, Climax-Scotts, Mattawan, Otsego, Parchment, Kalamazoo Central and Comstock. Other schools registered for the event include Bronson, Springport, River Valley, Camden-Frontier, Hartford, Charlotte and Berrien Springs.

Following the competition portion of the event, the Vicksburg High School marching band, the Big Red Machine, will present its 2021 competition show as an exhibition. The host band does not compete with the invited bands for a rating.

Following the Vicksburg exhibition, drumlines of Vicksburg and another school will take center field for this year’s Drumline Face-Off feature, when it debuted in 2018.

The bands will be scored by a panel of judges on various criteria, such as music performance, marching accuracy, music effectiveness and visual effect. Music-themed trophies will be awarded to the bands placing first, second, and third in each class, and additional “hardware” will be going home with bands receiving the “caption award” in each class for Best Marching, Best Music, Best Percussion and Best Color Guard. The band with the top rating across all four classes will win a Grand Champion trophy.

Stadium gates will open for spectators at 2:30 p.m. The first competing band will perform at 3:15 p.m., and be followed by the other bands performing at approximately 15-minute intervals, with a short dinner break for judges built into the schedule. Awards ceremonies for the Class D and B bands will be held about 5:30 p.m., with the Class C and A bands awards to be presented following the Drumline Face-Off. When the complete schedule is finished it will be available on the internet at

The admission charge remains at $6; pre-school age children are admitted free. A keepsake print program will also be available at the admission gates for a nominal charge. A variety of food and beverages will be available throughout the event. On-site parking is available at the High School and the nearby Administration Building (Old El); and also at the adjacent Middle School accessed by the drive between the Administration Building and the Bus Garage. Overflow parking will be available on nearby neighborhood streets.

The Bulldog Invitational is a fundraiser for the Vicksburg Band Boosters, which sponsors the event. A strong showing of support for this event by fans of the participating bands, and by the Vicksburg area community sustain the Bulldog Invitational as a premiere annual scholastic marching band competition in this area.

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