San Benito High School will host the first “Battle of the Bands” on Saturday evening, October 26 in the new Andy Hardin Stadium. The marching band from SBHS will be joined by bands from Independence High School, Christopher, Gilroy, Sobrato, Live Oak, Salinas, Fremont and Sunnyvale. They will perform in what Baler Band Director Joey Fortino calls “kind of like a sporting event and a concert in one.”
“These students on the field are truly athletes,” he added, noting how they incorporate “dance skills, flexibility, endurance, strength and coordination all to help the music come off the field.” Each band has its own style and sound.
Bands are grouped by size, with those up to 60 performers in the 1A category, bands with 61-80 members in 2A, bands with 81-100 in 3A, bands with 101-140 in 4A and bands above 140 performers in the 5A category.
Fortino said attendees at the competition “can sit down and enjoy a concert but still cheer and applaud at all the parts that get you excited. You can watch the color guard toss flags, rifles and sabres into the air and catch them, making it look easy — trust me it isn’t — hear the drumline getting your heart pumping, and all the musicians playing their hearts out to reach the audience.”
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with the National Anthem, followed by the first band performance at 6:40. General admission tickets, available at the gate, are $12; students with ID are $10; and programs cost $5.
“We are really excited to bring this event to SBHS,” Fortino said. “We have a great facility that the other groups will enjoy performing in as much as we do. We have gone to other schools for years to attend their competitions and now it’s time to show off what we have here in Hollister.”
Fortino credited a crew of volunteers, led by Kris Pearson, for helping with the competition, which is hosted through the Western Band Association. There are three to four competitions throughout the state in October and November, culminating in the WBA Championships on Nov. 23 in Fresno.