MORGANTOWN — The sounds of drum cadences filled the air Saturday morning as bands from all over the state prepared for the 53rd annual Morgantown High School Band Spectacular.
The yearly gathering of musical ensembles is a long-standing tradition that started at MHS’s own Pony Lewis Field but has since found its way to Milan Puskar Stadium, where the bands now come to perform.
MHS Band Director Keith Reed has watched the band march in 38 band spectaculars and was proud of his students after their show-closing performance.
“I think at this time, the culmination of all the work that we’ve done after school and all through the summer has paid off. They like it. It’s their show. It’s kind of their time to shine, so I’m real proud of them,” he said.
In the time he’s spent with the band, he said the spectacular has continued to grow. He would know as he’s been around for most of them.
“The community comes out. The parents work really hard, especially for this event, and they do a nice job,” he said.
This year’s field show was a compilation of ’70s music with big horn sections, Reed said.
The MHS band has a full schedule ahead of it with home football games and a performance at the Fort Ligonier Days Parade on Oct. 13.
“We’re looking forward to that. That will be the next thing on our list,” said Reed.
Many other bands besides the Mohigans took to Mountaineer Field on Saturday. In addition to high school bands, middle school bands, including Suncrest and South, were in attendance, as well as Fairmont State University’s marching band.
The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees from East Fairmont High School also put on an energetic field show for the crowd. An expansive ensemble, the group’s music is accompanied with lively dance numbers from the Honeybees. Band director TJ Bean said the students put in a lot of work to pull of their show.
“We’ve got a great group of students that worked all through band camp all summer. Ever since the Monday after July Fourth, we’ve been meeting. They’ve worked all summer for it,” he said.
Bean said the band has attended the band spectacular for several decades and doesn’t believe it missed a year. He commended the students on a fantastic performance. He said many also play sports, but they still work hard to make the field show happen.
“They have a great deal of pride, a great deal of dedication. I’m proud of them,” said Bean.
He said the band likes to put on a show and make the crowd happy. East Fairmont performs largely at games and other band spectaculars. The students travel up and down the East Coast from Canada all the way to the Bahamas.
With such a large band, Bean said it keeps its numbers because of tradition.
“Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Busy Bee Band, and we’ve tried to keep some things in place that students look forward to and keep them coming back,” he said.