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High school marching bands to be featured in spectacular

by Gail Marsh


If you end up enjoying the halftime show more than the football game, this night's for you.

The Liberty High School band will host its 18th annual Band Spectacular at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hite Field, home to the Liberty Mountaineers.

"Some parents attend football games so they can see their children play in the band, and it's often too noisy to enjoy it. This way they'll just get to see them perform," said Michael Perri, Liberty band director.

Ten bands from North Central West Virginia will perform during the evening. Along with Liberty, Grafton, North Marion, Doddridge County, Lewis County, St. Mary's, Robert C. Byrd, Lincoln, South Harrison and Bridgeport High schools will participate.

"The bands usually do their normal halftime shows and may add a tune or two. It's a great opportunity to see what the other schools are doing," Perri said.

Since the beginning, the band spectaculars have not been a competition and no judging occurs, Perri said.

"We prefer it that way. The bands can come in and have a night to perform and have fun," he said.

Liberty's band this year is 185 members strong, with two drum majors, 20 dancers and 15 flag performers. Perri has been director at Liberty for more than 25 years and has seen a lot of changes in the way bands perform.

"Music is so much more available now than when I first started teaching. When Titanic came out last year as a hit, we were able to get the music for it quickly," he said.

Unlike some other area bands, Liberty no longer has the traditional baton-carrying majorettes.

"We got the idea for flags from watching drum and bugle corps do their precision drills. It's something that has worked out well for us," he said.

As always, being a band member still means practice, practice, practice.

"I don't think the public in general realizes how much time goes into doing an eight-minute halftime show," he said.

Students at Liberty begin band practice at the end of July, and attend a two-week all-day camp at the school during August. Because of the block schedule at the school, band members get to do most of their practicing during school hours, with 90-minute practice sessions every day.

"We were out here practicing last night in the 90-degree heat. You have to give these kids some credit," he said.

For more information on the band spectacular, contact Perri at 624-3258.