The beat goes on Oct. 6 when the annual Southeastern Washington Cavalcade of Bands marches into Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
This is the 31st year for the popular competition, which is expected to draw more than 2,500 students from 24 high schools from Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
"The competition will be fierce," said organizer Maria Allan.
Daylong competition starts at 8:45 a.m. and culminates with the top 12 bands advancing to the finals starting at 6:15 p.m. The awards ceremony will be at 9 p.m.
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The spectator fee is $14 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Kids ages 5 and younger are free. Tickets are available at the Edgar Brown Stadium box office.
"We have several bands that make our show a huge deal," Allan said. "A brass quartet from the U.S. Marine Corps also will perform the national anthem at finals."
The Cavalcade of Bands has been a visual and musical pageant since it began in 1981. Tri-City music teachers Randy Hubbs and John Owen jointly organized the marching band field event with the help of music booster clubs at area high schools.
"There used to be a marching band competition that happened on the Friday before the state football championships in the Kingdome," Hubbs said. "So in 1981, in a fairly spontaneous act, I invited the local bands that were planning on going to the Kingdome to come over to Edgar Brown and run their shows the Thursday night before. We all left the following day for the Kingdome."
That brought John Owen's band from Kennewick High, Warren Hopkins' band from Richland High and John Blake's band from Hanford High.
"It was a cold, clear December evening, yet the home team side of the bleachers was three-quarters full," he added. "I was talking with John as we were looking astonished at the crowd, and that is when the Cavalcade of Bands was born."
Never in his wildest dreams did Hubbs see the event becoming an annual treasure.
The following year, the competition included 12 bands from Wenatchee, Shadle Park, Hermiston, Payette, Hanford, Ferris, Clarkston, Richland, Rogers, Central Valley, University and Mead, along with Pasco and Kennewick, who played host to the event.
Today, the cavalcade is led by Brent Steinert, from Kennewick High, and Randy Bjur, from Pasco High.
The competition alternates locations at Edgar Brown Stadium on even years and Neil F. Lampson Stadium on odd years.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org