Saturday’s Crystal Coast Band Classic at Havelock High is the final stop for many high school bands on the competition circuit. And that means they all want to end their seasons with a victory.
“For most bands, this is the last competition,” said Jorge Benitez, band director at Havelock High. “All of them are using this as their last show and want to do well.”
The band competition, now in its 13th year, is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. with 23 high school bands scheduled to take the field. Preliminaries run through 5:15 p.m. with preliminary awards at 5:45 p.m. The finals, in which the top eight bands perform a second time to crown the competition’s grand champion, are scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m.
“I think what most people look forward to seeing is those top eight bands after those prelims,” Benitez said. “That’s a selling point.”
Bands are judged on general effect, music performance and visual performance, among other categories. Benitez said the competition will feature some of best bands in the state, including those from Band of America events.
“There’s probably five or six bands that are in the BOA circuit that are performing,” he said. “It’s really good quality bands that will be here.”
And those bands will play a variety of music. Benitez said shows will include such themes as Amadeus, Alice in Wonderland, the Barber of Seville and even a Hope for a Cure.
“There’s 23 very different shows,” he said.
Benitez said White Oak’s show is titled “Illumination.”
“They have these LED lights on their uniforms that everyone goes crazy about,” he said.
The competition is expected to include bands from the area such as New Bern, West Craven, West Carteret, East Carteret and Croatan. The Onslow County contingent includes Richlands, Northside, Swansboro and White Oak. New Hanover and Ashley will make the trip from the Wilmington area, while North Lincoln is coming from the Charlotte area and Great Bridge High is coming from Chesapeake, Va.
As host of the event, Havelock will not be competing but will put on an exhibition performance at 5:25 p.m. Benitez said the Marching Rams have had a strong season.
“We did really well at the West Craven, Northside and White Oak competitions,” he said. “We were band of the day at Northside and first place in White Oak. At the Bands of America, we had 22 bands in our class and we were 13th.
“I tell the kids all the time that you can judge success in many different ways, and I think probably the most successful thing of our season was that we were able to get better all the way throughout the year instead of hitting that plateau the second week in October. They start thinking they know the show and they kind of quit working, but they didn’t. That was the most successful thing is that we were increasing our overall score.”
Gates are scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. General admission for adults is $8, which includes a souvenir program. Children 8 and younger are $5, with no program.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase throughout the day.
About 4,000 people attended last year’s Crystal Coast Band Classic, which serves as a fundraiser for the music department and band program at Havelock High.
Volunteers are needed to work the concession booths, and trophy sponsorships are also being sought. Trophy sponsorships vary in cost, from $35 for first place, $30 for second or $25 for third. An entire category can be purchased for $80. Sponsorship of the finalist trophies ranges from $50 to $75.
For more information or to become a volunteer or trophy sponsor, call the Havelock High band room at 444-5117, email band director Jorge Benitez at Jorge.Benitez@craven.k12.nc.us or go online to the band website at www.havelockband.com.