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Festival puts CCPS marching band program in spotlight

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RISING SUN — The stands at Rising Sun High School’s football field were packed Saturday morning with spectators, and for once it wasn’t for a football clash — it was for the marching bands that often provide the halftime shows.

RSHS, North East High School, Elkton High School, and Perryville High School students in the band program participated in the 19th Annual Northeastern Regional Band Festival.

The event serves as an exhibition, with two adjudicators providing constructive criticism to band directors on what could be improved in terms of music, visual effect and marching to make their program even better.

The annual Northeastern Regional Band Festival was started under Frank Metzger, the previous RSHS band director, with several other schools in the area. But the festival also doubles as a way for the students to show off their talents, and the community to experience the shows that are usually saved for marching competitions.

“Events like these really put our students in the spotlight, and it’s a completely different experience from Friday night games,” said RSHS band director Jorge Ayala. “It’s great to give that community the show we put on with our competitions, and they see how hard these kids have worked.”

All CCPS band programs also were successful in the Middletown High School Showcase of Champions earlier this month, with RSHS, EHS and PVHS taking home first place in their respective divisions, with NEHS taking home second.

Parents like Stormee and Dan Hickling came out to support their daughter, who was performing in the PVHS color guard.

“They do have some rivalries, because they do compete against each other, but it’s all in good fun,” Dan said.

“There’s a sense of family too, because they come out and support each other, because they have friends at other schools,” Stormee added. “This is also a great opportunity to get them on the field together for some fun.”

The festival also served as a fundraiser for the RSHS Band Booster fundraiser, as they were charging admission and also sold snacks and hot dogs. All the money will go to marching band uniform upkeep and replacements.

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