Students, parents and fans filled Roy Stewart Stadium Saturday for the 38th annual Festival of Champions marching band competition, hosted by Racer Band.
Depending on the size of their school, bands were each assigned to one of five classes. The victor from each class moved onto the finals, as did the next five highest-scoring bands, according to MidwestMarching.com.
Bands came from all over the region to perform a ten-minute show for the judges. The judging panel based its scores on the bands’ overall performance, individuality, transitions and designs.
It was a fierce competition as fans showed their support by cheering on their favorite band. Some bands used props during their performances, such as mirrors, podiums or artwork to help create a visual or tell a story.
Many of the bands also featured color guards in their performances. The color guards brought different-colored flags that displayed school spirit.
Before the finalists were announced, Racer Band performed to the sold-out stadium. Since Murray State hosts the competition, it was only appropriate that fans stood and cheered on their Racers.
“I thought our performance rocked,” Katie Wilhelm, junior from St. Louis, said. “The crowd’s reaction was the best part because they were cheering us on and singing along with us. The standing ovation was when I knew we did well.”
Racer Band students new to college-level marching competitions were surprised by their performance and how the crowd reacted.
“It was a rush,” Chelsi Cornett, freshman from Greenville, Ky., said. “It was one of the best shows I’ve ever marched.”
Out of 13 finalists, Madisonville North Hopkins High School came in first place, while second place went to Daviess County High School. Murray High School received third, followed by Good Pastor Christian High School in fourth place.
Story by McKenzie Willett, Staff Writer