The Midland Valley High School band will host its annual 2013 Mustang Classic competition on Saturday, with a whopping 21 bands participating – the most in about 12 years.
And how does veteran band director David Hastings account for that turnout?
“I have no clue,” he said with a laugh. “I've been thinking about that myself.”
A total of nine competitions throughout the state are scheduled Saturday, and Midland Valley has the most bands registered.
“Two or three bands are driving past White Knoll High School and coming to us,” Hastings said. “We've had the contest for 16 years, and it's our big fundraiser.”
The event will start Saturday at 1 p.m. and will end with the awards ceremony at roughly 8:30 p.m. More than 1,500 band students will participate.
As the host band, Midland Valley will compete only for a rating, performing at 8 p.m.
The other Aiken County bands and their divisions and performance times are: Ridge Spring-Monetta (1:30 p.m.); Silver Bluff (4:15 p.m.), South Aiken (5:45 p.m.) North Augusta (7 p.m.). Other area bands will include North, Barnwell, Blackville-Hilda and Evans.
Midland Valley's Pride of the Valley band, led by drum major Jonathan Garcia, will present the show “Criminal,” an original marching band piece written by Andrew Yozviak.
“It's a great opportunity to get out there,” Hasting said. “Our kids have been working hard since the end of July. This is an opportunity for them to get some feedback from professionals other than myself. We can use that to better our performance.”
The gates will open Saturday at noon. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students. Concession items will be available throughout the festival.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the times Aiken-area bands will perform Saturday. The Aiken Standard regrets the error.