Cooler temperatures and enthusiastic crowds greeted the 43 marching bands participating in the Mt. Timpanogos Marching Band Competition at Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove, on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Bands from American Fork, Lehi, Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove and Payson took top honors in their respective divisions. Divisions are determined by the size of the band, rather than the size of the student body.
Payson won the 1A division, with Pocatello and Spanish Fork taking second and third, respectively. Pleasant Grove won the 2A division, with Copper Hills and Salem Hills finishing second and third. Lone Peak finished first in the 3A division, followed by Mountain Crest and Provo. Lehi won the 4A division, with Timpview finishing second and Riverton third. Among the largest bands in the 5A division, American Fork won first place, followed by Sky View and Davis.
Marching bands came from as far away as Rexburg, Idaho, to participate in the last regular-season competition before this weekend’s state and regional competitions in St. George. The Red Rocks competition on Friday, Oct. 30, serves as the state championship, and the Saturday, Oct. 31, Bands of American Western Regional Competition draws bands from several Western states.
With increased participation across the nation, high school marching bands provide youths with a workout. Parents and students alike give a thumbs-up to the experience of competing and developing musicianship.
After 30 years without a marching band, the newly formed band from Alta High School, of Canyons School District, competed this year.
Parent Angie Lillywhite said, “This is awesome! Caleb Shabestari, the director the past two years, is an inspiration. My son wants to practice all the time. Our community, school administration and parents offer great support for this program.”
Mountain Crest percussion staff member Kyle Jex explained that after he moved to Utah in the sixth grade, his friends got him involved in band and he was hooked. “Marching band is important to students because they can have fun with music. The competition aspect of marching band, presenting it for competition, drove me to be the best I could.”
For families the camaraderie of the competition is both emotional and contagious. American Fork band grandparent Annie Jones said, “I had five grandchildren who marched. I didn’t miss any of the competitions. I don’t have anyone who marches anymore but I’m the most loyal fan. I still love to come and see the hard work and dedication the kids put into it.”
“Marching band competitions become addictive," said parent Gloria Hunt, mother of tuba player Jesse Mecham of the Sky View marching band. She attends many of the competitions around the state. “I love coming to the Mt. Timpanogos competition. ... I’m going to be sad when this year ends because it’s my last.”
With the exception of field shows at football games and trips for a few top-rated schools, marching bands take a break until spring after the St. George competitions.