Eastern to Host Marching Band Festival

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

The 38th Annual Panther Marching Band Festival will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at O’Brien Stadium.


The festival, which is expected to last all day, will consist of 36 high schools from around Illinois coming to show off their talents to compete for a variety of awards.


Corey Francis, assistant director of bands, said the festival is not only about winning.


“First and foremost, the actual performance is the most important thing,” he said. “A lot of students will look at how they placed and use that to measure their success, but the success they feel at performing well in front of their parents and each other is the most important part.”


The high schools performing include Mattoon, Charleston and Paris High School.


The festival is broken up into two parts including the festival and a competition.


The competition will judge marching bands on areas such as their music, general effect, percussion, and drum majors.


The bands will be divided into two divisions; the Small Division and the Large Division. Grand Champion trophies will be given to the highest scoring band in each division.


There will also be awards for first, second and third place as well as awards given for the best music, best color guard, along with others.


The festival is geared toward highlighting the best of the high school marching band and Eastern’s Panther Marching Band.


Francis said the festival is also a great way of showing off the campus and the Panther Marching Band.


“High schools love it, we tend to get a variety of schools, a lot of whom come back every year and end up performing for us,” Francis said. “It’s a very positive atmosphere which has been enjoyable.”


A panel of nine judges will be judging the performances and scoring them throughout the day.


The bands will be scored in areas such as music performance and visual performance. The judges will write their comments on a sheet of paper to give to the high school bands at the end of the day.


“[The marching bands] have a chance for a national panel of judges to give them feedback and help them improve in their upcoming seasons,” Francis said.


This festival is open to the public. Admission costs $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children 5 years old and younger will be admitted for free.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]