Marching to Victory: Golden Griffons host Tournament of Champions

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Approximately 1,200 young musicians and their families filled Spratt Stadium Tuesday for Missouri Western’s 30th annual Tournament of Champions.

Area high school marching bands had the opportunity to showcase their talents by going head to head in a field performance competition sponsored by the Golden Griffon Marching Band.

Western Drum Major Erin Bua views the annual competition as a recruitment tool for future band members.

“Tournament of Champions is a marching band competition for high school bands in the general Missouri/Kansas state area. They have their field shows: competing for marching, music and general effect. This [event] is a really good thing for our marching band, because we have an exhibition show at the end; it shows them [perspective students] what we are capable of, and will possibly get them interested in coming to school here. It is a huge recruitment tool for the program,” Bua said.

The Golden Griffon Marching Band selected the Eternal Knot, a marching arrangement showcasing various Celtic pieces including ‘Riverdance’ and ‘This is Berk’ from the DreamWorks film “How to Train Your Dragon.”

The competition was co-sponsored by the music fraternities of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota. Phi Mu Alpha President Arthur Malo was excited to be a part of the musical tradition.

“Phi Mu Alpha has been a part of the Tournament of Champions since its original debut. In the past, it’s only ever been ran by Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota, but this year there has been a change; the entire marching band is involved with running the event, so we have been put in charge of more of the leadership roles this year,” Malo said.

Director of Athletic Bands Nathan Gay was pleased with the number of schools in attendance, despite the construction in Spratt Stadium.

“Sixteen schools came in this year. Because the stadium has been undergoing construction, we don’t have any access to the lights. In previous years, we have started this in the late afternoon and went on through the evening, which meant some of the schools that weren’t quite as close could have time to travel and get set up before their performance time. We did lose a couple schools from previous years, because of the time change, but to still have 16 is a still a great turn out for this year,” Gay said.

Bands, as well as their drum lines and color guards, are judged on their overall musicality and visual aesthetics in six categories. The judge’s panel consisted of several well-known music educators including Frank Tracz, director of the Kansas State University Pride of the Wildcat Land marching band.

The day concluded with the placing of the top three bands in each division, with Platte County High School taking home the grand champion trophy.

The marching band will host a second street marching competition during the Western homecoming parade, set to take place Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9:30 a.m., with line up on Fredrick Avenue.


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