THE THIRD annual OVAC Band Showcase will take center stage Saturday at Martins Ferry's Purple Rider Stadium at the Dave Bruney Football Complex.
An event-high 17 schools will take part in the event, which will begin at 4:30 p.m.
"This is perhaps one of the most positive events the OVAC sponsors," said Tom Rataiczak, the conference's executive secretary. "You have to see it to fully comprehend it. But, you have Wheeling Park fans cheering for Paden City, Bellaire fans cheering for Martins Ferry and just kids from all over the conference getting a chance to get together for the first time since the OVAC All-Star Football Game."
The proceeds of the event go directly to the McDonald's OVAC All-Star Band and helps to offset defraying the cost of the band.
"Everyone goes home a winner because they showcased their best," Rataiczak said. "This event has a lot of great sounds, great performances and amazing talents. We had 13 schools take part last year, so we hope to continue to increase next year. Our ultimate goal is to have every band in the OVAC showcase its students. But, we realize that's difficult to do with homecomings, Saturday night football games, etc."
Each school will perform a 12-minute show and the last band of the evening to perform is West Liberty University.
However, the grand finale of the event will once again feature all 17 high school bands and the Hilltoppers on the field at one time to perform 'America the Beautiful', which was arranged by St. Clairsville Marching Band Director Justin Schwertfeger.
"When you see the finale with some 1,000 musicians playing unrehearsed together, it gives you chills," Rataiczak said. "This is a must-see event that more people should witness."
The event isn't judged, but each band will receive a participation award at the conclusion of the event, which is coordinated by Ben McPherson, who is the assistant principal at New Martinsville Elementary School.
The bands will perform from smallest to largest. The order of performance is as follows: Hundred, Paden City, Bridgeport, Wellsville, Martins Ferry, Shadyside, Valley, Bellaire, Clay-Battelle, St. Clairsville, Toronto, Wheeling Park, Brooke, Harrison Central, University, Indian Creek, Buckeye Local and West Liberty.
This is the second consecutive year that the event has been held in Martins Ferry after spending its first year at Wheeling Island Stadium.
"From the ticket sellers to the superintendent, everyone has gone out of their way to make these kids feel special," Rataiczak said. "They do an amazing job of moving these musicians and buses in and out of the field in a quick and orderly manner."
Other members of the OVAC Band Showcase committee are Julia Wayne (Martins Ferry) Band Director), Schwertfeger (St. Clairsville) and Amanda McPherson (Magnolia).
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com