Marching bands walk the walk for festival

Elise Barnett

Washburn University’s Yager Stadium came alive with energy and excitement as parents, students and community members gathered for the annual Capital City Marching Band Festival.

Wednesday Oct. 20, the marching band festival, showcased half-time performances by eight local high schools.  Judges at the festival rated the schools on various aspects of their performance.

Mission Valley High School’s marching band began the night with a blues-inspired collection of three pieces. What the Mission Valley Vikings lacked in size, they made up for with spirit and enthusiasm.

Next, Highland Park high school Marching Scots took the field along with Highland Park’s dance team. For the first two numbers of their performance, the dance team performed small routines off to the side of the band. The last number brought the dancers and band together in a mosaic of fun and precise coordination.

The Osage City Marching Indians and color guard rocked the house with their show entitled “Rock of Ages” which featured the song “Carry On My Wayward Son” originally performed by the rock band, Kansas. The crowd roared as the band sang the opening lines of the song leading into their instrumental interpretation


As the night progressed, the bands grew larger and the routines more theatrical and overall dynamic. The second half of the festival featured all 5A and 6A high schools including Leavenworth, Shawnee Heights, Topeka West, Seaman and Washburn Rural.

The Leavenworth Pioneer Band and color guard boasted a video game theme opening the performance with the theme from the popular game “Halo.” Dramatic and eye-catching, the large band moved around the field in a show catered for the technological generation. The color guard used multiple flags and plastic rifles in their routine.

The Shawnee Heights High School Marching Thunderbirds’ half time show was a medley of songs from the band “Chicago.” Along with being performed as part of the festival, their ensemble will also have the privilege of performing in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago. Though only featuring one band’s music, the composition itself gave the band a chance to demonstrate contrast and show its strengths in all types of music.

The Topeka West Marching Chargers brought performance and color guard interaction with a routine featuring selections from the opera “Carmen.” Telling the dramatic tale of love and betrayal in a 15-minute halftime show is no easy task and the interaction between the guard and the band was engaging and unique to their performance.

Seaman High School’s Viking Marching Band also played with theatrics, but didn’t let the color guard steal the show. The band’s boisterous music and complex, serpentine formations gave the performance a classic “big band” feel which got people moving in the stands.

To close the high school portion of the festival, Washburn Rural High School’s Junior Blues performed their Latin inspired show whose title translated means “this is how we play.” In addition to a color guard and large band, the Junior Blues had a baton twirler as part of their routine. They were also the only band to incorporate solos into their music.

Washburn’s own Marching and Dancing Blues closed the festival with a riveting performance that included a performance by the Washburn Faculty Brass Quintet.

Overall the festival was a high-energy collection of music showing what the northeast Kansas area marching bands are capable of producing.

The Capitol City Marching Band Festival was sponsored by the Washburn University Music Department with help from Manning Music of Topeka.