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Top high school marching bands set to compete

POSTED: October 24, 2008 5:01 a.m.

SNELLVILLE –– One of the region’s most highly anticipated band competitions is set for Oct. 4 at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville.

Featuring 20 of the top marching bands from high schools throughout Georgia; the Southern Star Invitational is expected to draw thousands of spectators. Last year’s attendance topped 5,200 and organizers anticipate a capacity crowd this Saturday.

In addition to the bands competing in the event, the host South Gwinnett Band of Stars will perform an exhibition of their award-winning 2008 show Legends, featuring the works of Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and others.

“The Southern Star is an annual event that attracts the best of the best from high school marching bands in our region” said William P. Owens, director of bands and chair of the Fine Arts Department at South Gwinnett High School. “These kids work very hard and put on a great show. It’s a wonderful event that we hope our friends in metro Atlanta, and especially those living in the districts served by our participating schools, will come out to support.

“It’s exciting for the kids because the Southern Star has been a event scouted by Drum Corps International and other well known marching band organizations for talent,” Owens added. “In addition to the fun, the camaraderie and the great music, some of our kids may have an opportunity to catch the eye of a professional in attendance.”

The Southern Star Invitational will be judged by a panel of nine experts, including music faculty from Georgia colleges and universities, nationally known band instructors and leading local directors. These professionals will judge bands across categories that include visual effect, visual performance, music effect, music performance, color guard, percussion and drum majors.

A long list of awards will be presented at the conclusion of the competition, including the Grand Champion trophy. Standing more than five feet, the trophy will be awarded to the overall winning band.

Tickets for the Southern Star Invitational are $8 for individuals 12 and older, $5 for youngsters under 12 years old, and free for children four and under. Proceeds from the event go to benefit the South Gwinnett Band Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

The first band takes the field at South Gwinnett’s Richard Snell Community Stadium, 2288 East Main St., Snellville, at noon Saturday and music will fill the air well into the night with awards across a broad range of categories to follow.

In addition to the music, a wide variety of fresh-cooked hot foods, homemade baked goods and other concessions to fit every taste will be available throughout the day at very reasonable prices. So, visitors who plan to stay for the duration of the event need not worry about packing meals for the family, there will be plenty of good food and drink to go around.

For more information on the competition and directions to South Gwinnett High School, visit www.southern-star.net.

• Bands competing in the Southern Star Invitational
Chestatee War Eagle Band - Gainesville
Dacula Falcons Marching Band - Dacula
East Hall High School Viking Marching Band - Gainesville
Effingham County High School Rebel Regiment - Springfield
Elbert County High School Blue Devil Marching Band - Elberton
Grayson High School Marching Band - Grayson
Greenbrier High School Marching Wolfpack - Evans
Houston County Black and Silver Brigade - Warner Robins
Lithia Springs High School Band - Lithia Springs
Oconee County High School Warrior Marching Band - Watkinsville
Pierce County High School Band “Sound of Silver” Marching Band - Blackshear
Rockdale County High School Marching Band - Conyers
Sprayberry High School “Band of Gold” - Marietta
St. Pius X Marching Golden Lions - Atlanta
Wesleyan Marching Wolves - Norcross
West Forsyth High School Pride of the West - Cumming
West Hall High School Band of Silver - Oakwood
Woodland High School Wildcat Marching Band - Cartersville
Winder-Barrow High School Bulldogg Band - Winder

• Non competing exhibition by:
South Gwinnett High School Band of Stars - Snellville

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