Bands to compete at first Rocket City Marching Invitational on Sept. 23

MADISON – An exciting, new event will premiere in Madison with the Rocket City Marching Invitational on Sept. 23.

Bob Jones High School Marching Patriots are presenting the contest for bands to impress the audience and panel of judges with their music charts, field formations, color guard pageantry and synchronized dance moves. The invitational will open at noon.

Marching bands will converge on Madison City Schools Stadium to compete in numerous categories. Bands will perform continuously until all have marched. In the finale, judges will announce ratings and students from each band will accept their awards on the field.

Leigh Thomas is Director of Bands at Bob Jones. Kevin Smart is Assistant Director and directs the percussion line.

Registration for participating bands closes Sept. 1.

Based on the number of musicians, classifications will include A — 40 members maximum; AA — 41-70 members; AAA – 71-100 members; and AAAA – 101-plus members. Bands can choose to register at a higher classification for the competition.

From the preliminary competition, students can earn trophies for both performance and “Best in Class” in categories for drum major, color guard, dance, majorette, percussion and overall band.

The top eight overall scores, regardless of class, will advance to finals. Overall scores are weighted with music at 50 percent; visual at 30 percent; and 20 percent for general effect.

In the finals, awarding differs slightly. Bands will receive awards based on best overall performance by drum major; visual ensemble, which includes guard, dance and majorette; percussion; visual; music; and general effect.

Bands with the top three scores overall will earn first-, second- and third-place awards. Other bands in the finals also receive awards. The audience will choose and vote for ‘fan favorite.’

Members of the judging panel have expertise for their evaluations:

* Drum Major — Matt Day of Madison. Alumnus of Bob Jones and University of Alabama, where he served as Drum Major. Works as a cybersecurity engineer.

* Dance/Majorette — Julia Nolen of Madison. Majoring in secondary education, she graduated from UA with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education. Now teaches sixth-graders at Journey Middle School.

* Percussion — Josh Nelson of Nashville. Works as teacher, arranger, adjudicator and clinician. Driving force behind Music City Mystique, award-winning WGI World Champion. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from East Tennessee State University.

* Color Guard — Lindsay Vawter of Nashville. Works in adjudication at local, regional and national events. Serves as Color Guard Coordinator for Southeastern Color Guard Circuit. Senior Staff Counsel with a large insurance technology company.

* Music — Kyle Weirich of Elkhart, Ind. Works as K-12 Music Coordinator and Director of Orchestras at Elkhart High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Western Michigan University and VanderCook College of Music.

* Visual — Kevin Morrison of Atlanta, Ga. Completed master’s degree of arts in music education from University of South Florida and holds a professional certificate in composition and orchestration from Berklee College of Music.

* General Effect — Dr. Adam Dalton of Atlanta. In music education, earned bachelor’s degree at James Madison University and master’s degree at UA. Worked with numerous drum and bugle corps.

* Critique- Jon Bubbett of Helena. In music education, earned bachelor’s degree from Troy State University and master’s degree from VanderCook College of Music. A seven-time recipient of National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence.”

* Critique — Joe Hermann of Cookeville, Tenn. He is Director of Bands Emeritus at Tennessee Technological University, where he has served 28 years. Hermann has directed numerous university and secondary band programs.


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