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NMSU hosts Bands of America Regional Championship

Music filled the Aggie Memorial Stadium as New Mexico State University hosted the Bands of America Regional Championship for the second time on Saturday, Sept. 24.    

Bands of America is a national competition affiliated with the nonprofit organization Music for All. This competition allows high school bands from around the country to participate in regional, super-regional, and national championships.

The NMSU Pride Band dazzles the crowd at the Bands of America Regional Championship hosted at Aggie Memorial Stadium Saturday, Sept. 24. (Photo by Nathaniel Bitting/Kokopelli)

Until last year’s debut in the southern region, this competition had been out of reach for many local high schools. This year, 15 high school bands participated, including bands from Las Cruces High School, Centennial High School and Organ Mountain High School.  

“It’s our first competition of the season,” said Trojan Marching Band Assistant Director Marissa Al-Masoud. “It gives us a chance to see where we go from here and what things we need to improve on as we continue all the way to the end of the season back here at the Tournament of Bands.” 

Tournament of Bands is a competition hosted at NMSU during late October. The event gives all New Mexico high schools an opportunity to compete in the largest marching band competition in the southern region. According to the NMSU music department’s administrative assistant, Trisha Pior, NMSU was able to host the Bands of America after Music for All recognized NMSU’s experience in hosting the Tournament of Bands.  

While Bands of America is a relatively new competition in New Mexico, parents are excited for their kids to travel and see bands from all over the nation, according to the parent of a Las Cruces High School drummer, Maribel Tellez.

Mayfield High School drum major, Yair Barraza, said she was thrilled with the experience and challenge that NMSU provided during the competition. “That mindset of being at a professional event is a little step to being a professional,” Barraza said. “I like to see what we can improve on, see other bands and have lots of fun.” 

Spectators watch high school marching bands compete in the Bands of America Regional Championship held at Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24. (Photo by Nathaniel Bitting/Kokopelli)

Bands of America competitions are split into three sections, including preliminaries, semifinals and finals. Judges score the bands based on three categories: music performance, visual performance and general effects. The panel of judges also score the competitors on their individual and ensemble performances, before ranking the band based on their school’s category. 

In regional championships, the 12 bands with the highest scores in the preliminaries will move on to the finals. Typically, the top three bands will then perform at super regionals. After that, the highest overall scoring bands will be given the opportunity to perform at nationals. Despite this process, any high school is allowed to register for upper-level competitions if they wish to participate.

During Saturday’s competition, the NMSU Pride Band also made an appearance in the opening show by unveiling the first half of its newest performance, Moulin Rouge. 

The next marching band competition hosted at NMSU will be the Tournament of Bands on Oct. 28. Tickets, schedules and other information regarding the event can be found on the Tournament of Bands section of the NMSU Department of Music website.  

For more information on Saturday’s results, visit the Bands of America Las Cruces Championships webpage. 

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