On Saturday, 21 high school marching bands from around the region will converge on Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium for the 20th annual Heart of America Marching Festival.
Five judges that will rank bands in percussion, auxiliary (including color guard and flags), music, marching and overall effect, said Matt Smith, director of the KU Marching Jayhawks.
The KU band hosts the competition along with the northeast district of the Kansas Music Educators Association.
“It’s a service to the schools and the music education programs around the region to offer something like this,” Smith said.
Also, it serves as a recruiting opportunity for KU, he said, as high school students get a chance to see the band up close.
“It’s a chance for people to visit KU and see our stadium,” he said.
Most of the bands are from Kansas, though one, Elkhorn High School, is from Nebraska and another, Raytown South High School, is from Missouri.
Tickets for the event are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and children of pre-school age are admitted free. Performances are scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. and end with an exhibition by the KU Marching Jayhawks at 7:15 p.m. and an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Lawrence High School is scheduled to perform at 4 p.m., and Free State High School’s performance is set for 7 p.m.