When it comes to high school marching bands, halftime is showtime. It's a brief performance window for well-practiced musicians, who often take the field on Friday nights just as the audience heads for the concession stand.
Come Saturday, marching bands from Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties will have the spotlight all to themselves at the District 5 Florida Bandmasters Association MPA (Marching Performance Assessment) held from 2 to 10 p.m. at Hernando High School.
It's a marathon kind of event, with a panel of state-certified judges weighing in on each band's half-time performance in the areas of marching, musicianship and auxiliary performance.
"The assessments for us as music teachers gives us kind of a guide where our students are at — where we are progressing and where we are headed," said Bill Rutherford, director of bands at Gulf High School in New Port Richey. "We get some good comments from our judges that give us a different perspective. Sometimes they hear some things a little different than we do."
The kids are nervous, so having fans in the audience is a definite boost, said Rutherford. "It's a great way to support the arts and our students."
"They know this is a big event for them," he said. "All the hours and days we worked putting this together — starting for some of us since July — culminates with this one performance."
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