USSBA to present 'The DeMoulin Challenge' in Tennessee, New Jersey

New series of competitive events will showcase elite band programs

The DeMoulin Challenge Presented by the USSBA will debut this October at two premier venues in the East and South, each designed to showcase America’s elite scholastic marching bands from each region in a new competitive format. 

Finley Stadium on the campus of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga will host the first DeMoulin Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 2nd and Rutgers Stadium on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., will be the site of the second DeMoulin Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 16th.  Both events will bring together 30 competitive marching bands at each site, each vying for 15 coveted Challenge finalist slots in a first-of-its kind prelim/final competition for the US Scholastic Band Association. 

The DeMoulin Challenge Series combines the best features of the USSBA, including double panels of high quality judges providing commentary and post-competition critiques, with new competitive features such as a 30 band preliminary and 15 band final format . This, combined with the awarding of an overall Demoulin Challenge Champion at each event creates an entire new echelon of premium marching band competitions. 

“For the first time in our history, the DeMoulin Challenge will feature events with Preliminary and Finals competitions and, in the process, will crown a single champion in each overall Challenge,” said Sean King Director of the USSBA.  “Our new partnership with DeMoulin allows us an exclusive opportunity to kick-off our relationship with a bang - and what is a better way to do that, than to have the best marching bands in the nation compete for the DeMoulin Challenge championship!” 

“A challenge series has been in our discussions for many years, and it is not a step that is being taken lightly.  Our philosophy is one of fairness, inclusion and equal participation for everyone. However, we do realize there are programs out there who prefer an intense competitive format, and we believe we can provide them with an experience like no other,” said George Hopkins CEO of YEA!, parent organization of the USSBA and Educational Director of the USSBA. 

Beyond the prelim/final format, the DeMoulin Challenge will provide for a double panel of adjudicators in each caption including visual, individual music, ensemble music, overall effect, as well as single panelists for the colorguard and percussion captions.  The competition will also provide for another USSBA feature, judge/staff critiques for each of the bands following the competition.  Preliminary competitors will have their critique immediately following the afternoon event, with finalist bands having their opportunity to meet with the judge panels after the evening’s competition. 

The preliminary competition will be divided into two segments of competition based on band group size as determined by the total number of performers.  Division I will feature competition between bands with groups of 77 members or less.  Bands with 78 members or more will compete in Division II.  The top five bands from both Division I and II will fill the first ten Finalist positions. The remaining five Finalist positions will be earned by the bands with the next five highest scores, regardless of Division.  Finalist performance order will be determined by random draw.  Group champion awards for overall placement and caption awards will be announced at the end of the preliminary competition, with Finalist caption awards presented during the awards ceremony, regardless of their Group. 

Admission for Challenge Series Preliminaries will be $12 with Finalist tickets being sold for $18.  All non-performing band members will be allowed into the stadium for finals free of charge. 

Registration for the DeMoulin Challenge is $795 and is open to the first 30 bands, regardless of size who subscribe to participate in the event.  Performance times will be determined by random draw on or about Sept. 1st

For more information on how to register for the DeMoulin Challenge in Tennessee or New Jersey, please contact Tim Gallagher at (610) 821-0345, Ext. 113 or by email at

CLICK HERE to register your band for either or both DeMoulin Challenges.


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