Twenty-seven high school marching bands will polish their shows Saturday at Homestead High School.
“We're refining, fine-tuning, just trying to make the product as perfect as possible,” Homestead band director Steve Barber said Wednesday of the Homestead Festival. “So this is a really important read and preview for the regional contest for the bands entering this contest.”
Bands' placement in Oct. 13 regional events were determined after the Sept. 29 district events at Homestead and six other host schools across Indiana.
Bands from northern Indiana have faced off at other festivals this fall, but the Homestead Festival will add a few bands from central and southern Indiana. Competition steps off at 10 a.m. with Hicksville, Ohio, in Class D, which is for smaller schools. Class C competition begins at 11:31 a.m., Class B at 1:54 p.m., and Class A at 3:51 p.m. Lafayette Jefferson completes the large schools' competition at 5:22 p.m.
Homestead will perform at 5:35 p.m. Barber said it's tradition for host schools to perform in exhibition at festivals that are not part of the Indiana State School Music Association competition. Although not eligible for placement awards and trophies, Homestead will profit from the judging. “We're still scored, and we still want to excel in that area as much as possible,” Barber said.
Saturday marks the 34th Homestead Fall Festival of Bands. Barber said band parents, former band parents, and former students join the legion of volunteers. “The number is kind of astounding,” he said.
“We're really taking our time and effort when we're hosting, making sure everything is perfect for the schools that are here, and that is really our emphasis throughout that day,” Barber said.
Saturday's weather does not threaten the competition, Barber said. The forecast calls for a high temperature 52, with mostly sunny skies. “If the weather would be bad enough, we would move inside and do what we call a stand-still concert performance. It would still be rated by the judges,” Barber said. “But, it would have to get pretty bad for that to happen, because the artificial turf helps us in that. We don't have to worry about a wet, muddy field.”
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children and students.
Homestead and other area Class A bands that scored Gold Ratings at the district level will compete Oct. 13 at Lafayette Jefferson High School, as will Class C bands. Qualifying Class B and Class D bands will compete in regional contests that day at Chesterton High School. In all, 127 bands will compete for 80 openings in the Semi-State Marching Band Festival on Oct. 27 at four Central Indiana sites. The state finals will bring 10 schools in each class to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
The Homestead Spartan Alliance Band is the defending state champion in Class A. In December, Homestead was announced as a winner of the Sudler Shield, administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The award recognizes world-class excellence.