Entering its 22nd season, the USSBA focus is on YOU

Interview with King as first weekend of events approaches

For 21-years, the US Scholastic Band Association has provided top quality scholastic marching events for bands across the country. It all began in 1988 when 24 New Jersey based bands performed at Giants Stadium as the Cadets Marching Band Cooperative laid an organizational foundation for a member-friendly new circuit.  [object Object] 

No one could have known what lay ahead, said Director Sean King. Now called the USSBA, boasting a membership of more than 700 bands, the organization is proud to live by some of the very same philosophies that were founded on that fall day more than two decades ago… 

Fair and consistent adjudication
Spectacular, world class venues for headline and championship shows
Positive experience events that provide memories of a lifetime
Customer service from start to finish
An avenue for students to perform, learn, grow, flourish and enjoy! 

We sat down with King, now in his third full season as director of the USSBA, to find out what makes year number 22 so special for the organization: 

What do you hope students, band directors, judges and fans will take away from the 2010 season? 

As always, the USSBA team is dedicated to providing great experiences from everyone who attends our events or is touched in even the slightest way by our organization.  Our staff is committed to serving and supporting the music educators, adjudicators, parents and most importantly the young people who perform weekly on the stage set by the USSBA.  From local high school settings, to the grand stage of venues like the New Meadowlands Stadium and our National Championships at Navy- Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, we work tirelessly so that educators can give experiences to their students that reaffirm the life lessons they are teaching in the band room and on the practice field every day. 

Tell us about the recently released YOUssba campaign. 

The focus of the USSBA is about YOU!  Whether the “you” is a band director, student, staff member, parent, booster, judge or guest – the team is here to create experiences and opportunities for scholastic music to flourish.  Through the YOUssba campaign we will be telling the stories of band members who share their talent and energy on the performance field. 

This weekend, you kick off the outdoor season with four events in that many states. From there, nearly 140 events will be held in 14 states, including multiple Regional and premier events. Tell us about the addition of some of those shows and what bands can expect at events such as the DeMoulin challenge, the Yamaha Cup, the A Band Challenge, and others? 

We do get off to a slower than usual start due to the way the calendar falls this year.  But in a mere two weeks, we will be heading out across the four corners of the nation to bring our brand of marching band excitement to communities through the largest network of events ever.  We have been fortunate to add new events like the first-ever prelim/final formats at the DeMoulin Challenge at Rutgers University and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the A Band Challenge also in NJ.  Most recently, we announced the first-ever marching band event at New Meadowlands Stadium and in turn received the most enthusiastic response ever from bands about a new venue. 

We take great pride in being able to provide band directors with the exact opportunity they need for their bands to succeed.  From early-season clinic formats to local events, Regional and State Championship competitions and the prestigious National Championship, the line-up of performance opportunities is unlike any other and is programmed specifically for the needs of today’s music educator and the goals they set for their programs. 

Last year, inclement weather on show days played a huge factor in logistics for the USSBA. What did you learn from those experiences to carry into this fall? What would you do differently? 

 We learned that rain is a four letter word!  On the positive side, we hope we proved to each of the bands that we will go to all extents to make the event a success for their students and parents.  At considerable expense and effort there was more communication and more adaptations to the schedule than ever before to protect once-in-a-lifetime events for the performers such as a last-ever competition at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands. 

As a non-profit organization, we do not have the resources to take too many losses, however in fulfilling the mission we will pull out all of the stops to make the best out of a bad situation. 

There is a level of service and commitment that USSBA bands receive when participating in the organization.  While the rain created less super experiences, it did allow the USSBA team to shine in its efforts to showcase marching bands across the country. 

Join us next week for the final installment of King’s interview.

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