Merrill residents might be hearing a lot of music around town the Homecoming weekend of Oct. 5 and 6. The Merrill High School Band and the Merrill Band Booster Association will be hosting their annual Marching Band Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Jay Stadium beginning at 1 p.m.
Seven bands from around the state will be traveling to Merrill to showcase their musical creativity. High school bands participating in this year’s show are Baldwin-Woodville, Portage, West De Pere, Cumberland, River Falls, Antigo, and D.C. Everest. Some of these bands are being housed overnight at various facilities in Merrill, so Merrill citizens may hear some early morning warm-ups on Sunday. The Merrill Marching Jays, as hosts, will be performing their show in exhibition (critique only) at the completion of the competition.
Merrill has been extremely fortunate to host some of the most outstanding bands in the state. Even though there are other competitions held across the state, these bands have elected to participate in Merrill’s event.
Some of these bands have taken first place in their class at the State Competition in Whitewater last year; other bands are right on their heels. Performance scores of the various bands are sometimes only a few points apart. Bands are scored on visual presentation (general effect and execution) and musical presentation (general effect and execution). Points are also included for each band’s percussion and color guard performances. Bands are divided into various classes depending on the enrollment size of their respective schools. Each band is required to perform a show that is not less than seven minutes and not longer than 11 minutes in length.
In conjunction with the Marching Invitational, the Merrill Band Endowment will be partnering with Chip’s Hamburgers to hold a fundraiser on Oct. 6. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day, Chip’s will be donating a portion of their sales to the Endowment. The Merrill Band Endowment uses this money to provide scholarships to music students to further their music studies.
Admission fee is $7 for adults and $6 for students or senior citizens. In case of rain, there will be “stand-still” performances held in the MHS Fieldhouse.
Merrill High School’s Marching Jays have been to shows in Cumberland and West De Pere so far this season. At the West De Pere show on Sunday, the Jays took first place, with caption awards for Best Percussion and Best Visual Presentation. They will compete in upcoming shows at D.C. Everest, Chippewa Falls, River Falls, and the State Championships in Whitewater. The band has 67 members this year.