UNI-Dome hosts Bands of America

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High school marching bands will gather at the UNI-Dome on September 28 from across the Midwest.  Instead of coming together for a football game, they’re going to be competing against one another for the regional championship.

“Bands of America is a competitive high school marching circuit,” said Hannah Butler, Public Relations Representative for the Panther Marching Band. “It’s similar to an athletic event, they go to a lot of different competitions. It’s structured so that they have a postseason, and they work their way up to the Grand National Championships.”

The gates for the event will open at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, and the final award presentation will be given at 10:30 p.m.

In total, 24 bands will be present at this Bands of America event. The rules of the competition are open-ended, and there are several categories including visuals, music and drumline. Contestants can earn a certain number of points in each category and the judges score them on their execution within each one. The judges for the contest are certified through the Bands of America program. Through this certification, they are given the training that is needed to judge a marching band.

While UNI has had a relationship with Bands of America in the past, this is the first event which UNI has hosted. “We’ve been in contact with the Bands of America facilitators for several years now,” said Butler. “This is just the first year that they’ve talked to us where we’ve had the right weekend open for us to host. Since the UNI-Dome is a shared space, it gets a little creative in there sometimes with scheduling.”

The Panther Marching Band will be helping UNI to prepare for Bands of America by almost completely staffing the event. In addition, two exhibition performances will be presented by the band. The first exhibition will be around 5 p.m., where they will perform an Earth, Wind and Fire show. Around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday night, they will do their pre-game show.

“I really hope that the students [enjoy] getting a chance to play in the Dome,” said Butler. “We have such a unique facility as compared to a lot of other bands in the country. I’ve gotten to play at different venues such as Jack Trice and stuff, and I love playing in the Dome. As for the audience, I hope that they get to enjoy seeing some of the top high school marching bands in the country perform right here.”

Butler believes that UNI hosting Bands of America is a unique opportunity. She wants UNI students to attend, noting that information about tickets and scheduling can be found on the Panther Marching Band social media pages. On Facebook, they are Panther Marching Band, and their Twitter/Instagram handle is @UNIPMB.