Ballard High School Marching Band awarded Best Overall Band in Leavenworth Autumn Leaf Festival
by Roxanne Kenison
Ballard High School’s award-winning marching band won first place overall out of 19 bands in the Autumn Leaf Festival parade in Leavenworth, WA on Saturday, Sept. 28. They also took first place in their 4A division, for the largest high schools participating.
That they managed to perform at all—and so well—is a testament to the group’s discipline, teamwork, and pluck.
Scheduled to leave Seattle by 8:30 a.m. for the Noon parade in Leavenworth, the 150-plus member band got a late start when a mixup resulted in their buses being delayed by an hour. An early fall snowstorm in the mountain pass slowed traffic, and the parade was already underway by the time the band arrived in Leavenworth. Being placed relatively far back in the lineup meant they still had a chance to participate, however.
To streamline proceedings, band members had put on their uniforms in-transit, and even availed themselves of the buses’ lavatories, anticipating no chance for a restroom break after their nearly 3-hour journey.
Director of Bands Michael James and parent chaperones directed the buses to parking as close as possible to the parade assembly area, and band members collected their instruments and fell immediately into formation. They literally marched away from the buses and into the parade with no stopping or pausing, to applause and cheers of onlookers.
“If we don’t win anything, that’s fine,” declared Mr. James after the band completed the parade route. “If we do win something, that’s fine too. I’m just glad we got here.” On being awarded first place, Mr. James proudly held up the trophy, and band members whooped, hollered, and squealed with excitement.
The Autumn Leaf Festival parade is the first performance of the year for the marching band, following after-school rehearsals and a weekend intensive Band Camp at the beginning of the school year.
Catch a local performance
The Ballard High School Marching Band will perform a halftime show, paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, at the BHS homecoming football game on Friday, Oct. 4 at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff vs. Chief Sealth High School is at 5 p.m. For an idea of what to expect, watch this video from last year’s Disney tribute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP4k3YfN5O0&feature=youtu.be
About Ballard High School’s Marching Band
The award-winning marching band is a highly energetic and entertaining group that consists of all students in Percussion, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic, and Concert band classes. It also performs at home football and basketball games and represents the school at parades throughout the Northwest.
About Ballard Performing Arts
The award-winning Ballard High School Performing Arts Program has gained regional, national, and international acclaim for their dynamic, inspired performances. The music department houses three concert bands, three concert choirs, two concert orchestras, percussion ensemble, two jazz bands, a jazz choir, multiple chamber ensembles, and a marching band of 180 musicians. The theater department offers classes in Technical Theatre and Theatre I and II, while the Ballard Playmakers produce two plays and one musical production each year. More than 450 students—approximately 1/4 of the school—participate in these performance opportunities. Ballard Performing Arts sets a high standard of excellence for all students, ensembles, and productions while developing individual artistry through the study of high-quality repertoire and opportunities to perform at an exceptional level. For more information: ballardperformingarts.org.