Select spots remain in three-day event

Season finale championship not to be missed

What started as a single-day event has quickly become three days of the most popular band happening on the East Coast.

In 2006 the US Scholastic Band Association established the USSBA National Championship to provide a final showcase for the top bands across the country. The USSBA continues this annual event Nov. 11–13 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on the campus of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

MD naval stadium

“We created the national championship because there were so many great bands participating in the circuit, but no one event allowed them to compete against each other,” says former USSBA director Sean King.  “A national championship contest was a great way to allow bands from Massachusetts to Georgia to be able to compete and share their programs with one another.  We knew the open bands would be appreciative of the opportunity but were pleasantly surprised that it grew so fast.”

One hundred bands participated in 2010, and so far in 2011, bands have registered from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and the first band from Ohio to attend a USSBA event. Additionally the USSBA is hosting James Madison University and the University of Delaware in exhibition.

The stadium itself has been home to many other marching music-related events including Drum Corps International and is slated to become the future home of the Drum Corps Associates' (DCA) annual championship.

“It’s my favorite stadium, perfect for marching band," says USSBA staffer Courtney Beard. "Entering through the tunnel and looking up the press box makes you feel like you’re entering a big time stadium but in reality it is really rather intimate giving a great feeling of the crowd and allowing the judges to easily hear what’s happening on the field and of course have a great visual vantage. And of course, the stadium and Annapolis itself are simply gorgeous.”

“It’s always been a real treat as an educator to bring a band to compete there," says acting USSBA Director Rich Hammond. "You know for sure that regardless of what happens that the student’s last memory of the season is going to be a good one”

The only drawback to the stadium is the strict noise ordinance law held by the city of Annapolis which prevents excessive sound creation after 9 p.m., Hammond added, as it strictly limits the number of performances allowed on a given day.

Space is still available, although limited, especially for bands hoping to perform on Saturday. Contact Rich Hammond at 610-821-0345 ext. 117 or via to inquire about getting your program into the national championship in Annapolis.


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