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University Hosts ‘Showcase of Bands’

Music filled the air Monday night as University High School’s 6th Annual “Showcase of Bands” took to the high school’s football field.

UHS’s band director Mark Palmer admits he was wary about starting a marching band showcase because, “it’s such a huge undertaking.” With 14 schools coming from as far away as Buckhannon, the bands and their supporters easily took UHS’s field facility to capacity, and Palmer insists that all credit for the event’s success over the years belongs to the parents.

“This community is incredibly supportive,” he said. “If it weren’t for all those people in the tennis-ball-green shirts, this wouldn’t be happening.”

Some of the standout performances of the night gave marching band standards a new life, while others brought something completely new to the field.

Buckhannon Upshur High School delighted with a selection of songs from the stage, playing tunes from “The Wiz,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Wicked.”

Morgantown High School’s 208 Mohigans paid tribute to the soulful legacy of Earth, Wind and Fire.

Morgantown High’s band plays during the UHS “Showcase of Bands.” More than a dozen middle school, high school and college bands performed at the annual gathering, including special guest, the Pride of West Virginia, WVU’s marching band.

Brooke High School showed off its range with “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkle, and “Uprising” by Muse.

Fairmont Senior High School played a medley of Elton John songs with a rousing finale of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

Mountain Ridge High School put on a full, Roaring ’20s-inspired production of jazz-era standards that included set pieces and costume changes, before changing pace and finishing with an interpretation of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.”

Laurel Highlands High School brought quite a bit of variety, starting with Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” before transitioning into Panic at the Disco’s “Say Amen” and rounding out with the marching band classic “Malagueña”

University High School’s marching band spent most of the night enthusiastically cheering on their visitors. When their turn came, they rounded out the night with a medley of ’80s hits including A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” the Toto classics “Africa” and “Roseanna,” and finished with “Come on Eileen” by Dexie’s Midnight Runners.

But the Hawks weren’t the last show of the night.

A ripple of excitement pulsed through the bleachers as the Pride of West Virginia took the field. Even after nearly three hours of marching band performances, the Pride could illicit an electric reaction from the crowd.

“This is not a competition, and it’s not a ratings festival, basically all this is is an opportunity to put on a show for an appreciative audience,” Palmer said. The aspiring marching band members were certainly appreciative for the opportunity to watch the expert Pride take the field and lead the crowd in “Hail, West Virginia” as the night drew to a close.