The Havelock High School marching band has been working since the spring to perfect its competition show that is most often seen at halftime of home football games.
Members are getting ready for one of their last performances at the Crystal Coast Band Classic scheduled for Saturday at Havelock High.
“I think it’s a good way to end the marching season,” said junior Taylor Wafford, a member of the band’s front ensemble. “Everyone’s kind of tired. It’s the last stretch, but everyone wants to end it well.”
As host of the event, Havelock won’t be competing for the top prize, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t pressure to perform.
“It will be a little more relaxed because we’re not worried about placing,” Wafford said. “But it is also stressful because it’s our classic, our competition. We’re hosting it, but it’s like what can they do as a band?”
The theme of Havelock’s show is dreams. It features songs about sweet dreams, dreams of the future and nightmares, and includes props such as a bed complete with a sleeping band member.
The show has been an award winner, with Havelock compiling victories in its size classification as well as top three overall awards at competitions at Chesapeake, Va., West Craven High and Fuquay-Varina.
“Dreams is more straight-forward,” Wafford said. “Everyone understands it. Everyone has nightmares.”
This year’s band classic will feature 22 high school bands from throughout the region. The competition includes Craven County bands such as West Craven and New Bern, Carteret County bands from West Carteret, Croatan and East Carteret, a number of bands from Onslow County, and others from as far away as Raleigh.
“I think it’s one of the biggest competitions,” Wafford said of the 12th annual classic, which serves as the final competition for many high school bands. “Everyone wants to come. A lot of bands want to come because it’s such a big deal. I think it’s something a lot of bands look forward to because it is so competitive. A lot of the better bands come to this competition.”
Gates open for the event at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for the preliminary round where each band takes the field at Havelock High. After preliminaries, the Havelock band will take the field for its exhibition performance at 5:25 p.m. After that and the preliminary awards ceremony, the highest scoring bands in each size classification will take the field for a finals performance to determine the competition’s grand champion beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“For the audience, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Havelock band director Jorge Benitez said of the format. “Some just come in to see the finals because they see the top eight shows, which are always really amazing.”
Benitez said the competition will feature all types of music, from Elvis Presley, to 1950s music, to classical.
“We’re really excited about all the different groups that are here,” Benitez said. “They’ve got all kinds of different shows. It’s going to be a wide variety of stuff for people to listen to.”
Admission to the competition is $8 for adults, which includes a program, and $5 for children ages 8 and under with no program. Food and drinks will be available.
The event serves as a major fundraiser for the Havelock High band program, with proceeds going to support the band’s travel expenses, equipment purchases, music and instruction.
“This funds about 50 percent of our band program for the next year,” Benitez said.
For more information, call the Havelock High band room at 444-5117 or go online to www.havelockband.com.