Washburn hosts high school marching festival, Washburn grad makes return

Gangsta beats The Washburn Fighting Blues Marching Band jazzes up its halftime show with a collection of gangster jazz songs. The Fighting Blues will perform Wednesday after the high schools have competed.

Josh Rouse

The stands of Yager Stadium will reverberate Wednesday to the sounds of triplets, trills and tubas as Washburn hosts the annual Capital City Marching Festival.

The Festival, which invites area high school marching bands to demonstrate their musical and marching abilities, will begin 6:30 p.m. at Yager Stadium. The bands that will perform at the event are Emporia, Highland Park, Leavenworth, Mission Valley, Seaman, Shawnee Heights, Topeka West and Washburn Rural. The WU Fighting Blues Marching Band and the Dancing Blues Drill Team will perform after all the high schools have competed. The school are competing for the ratings of “superior” and “excellent.”

“It’s a wonderful activity for high schools from around the region to be able to come together and show each other what they’re capable of doing after months of work,” said Keith Mallory, Washburn University marching band director. “They’re not competing against each other, they’re just competing against themselves, basically, to see how well they can perform and how well they can be rewarded for their hard work.”

Seaman High School band director Cary Stahly will make yet another homecoming appearance. Stahly, who graduated from Washburn University in 1993, considers it the duty of the band to take part in the Topeka festival as a way of representing their city.

“We feel like the Capital City is our city marching festival,” said Stahly. “I think it’s necessary for us as a Topeka school to be there.”

Stahly, whose band is competing in four marching festivals this fall, said that he has seen a great change in the university since his years at Washburn.

“It’s changed so much for the better,” said Stahly. “With the university as a whole and Yager Stadium, it’s a lot nicer and a lot more accommodating for the fans. The turf is a lot nicer for the bands and for the sports teams.”