Despite a bleak forecast of rain, the 12th annual Southern Plains Marching Festival, hosted by the Andover High School marching band, happened without a hitch.
Twenty-six marching bands performed at the festival, including six bands from Butler County. Because of the impending rain throughout the day, there were concerns of the festival being delayed or cancelled. The rain held off, though, and all bands were able to perform.
"I was very pleased because for so much of the festival, we were worried about the weather, so we're very pleased that we were able to have all of the band perform and have a good venue," AHS band director Ray Linville said. "It wasn't cold and nobody got wet."
Linville said for many of the bands, the SPMF is their final competition of the year and for some, it is their only competition.
"If we had to cancel or not have it today, they just wouldn't have gone to a competition this year," he said. "We're glad everyone got to perform."
The Andover Trojan marching band was the last to perform during the festival. They were scheduled to perform at 2:16, but started earlier in order to beat the approaching storm.
After the conclusion of the festival, there is usually an awards ceremony to give the performing bands plaques and ratings for the day. However, the ceremony was cancelled due to the rain and Linville instead urged the audience and visiting bands to leave the stadium, while reading off results of the festival over District Stadium's loudspeakers.
The AHS marching band received straight "I" (superior) ratings.
"It was a great ending for marching season," junior clarinet player Asia Haque said.
Junior percussion player Quinlan Paredes was also happy with the band's performance.
"I felt we really gave it our all," Paredes said. "We definitely had a lot of fun. I'm gonna miss this year."
Sophomore Brittany Prytulka said she enjoyed this year's marching show and is sad to see the marching season come to a close.
"I enjoy going outside and being with all of the band every morning," she said.
Junior Alexandrea Owens shared Prytulka's thoughts.
"I'm gonna miss people because of the split that happens when we start concert band," Owens said.
Senior percussion player Darren Jones, who has been in the marching band for four years, said this year's show was better than in years past.
"Our music and marching was better this year," Jones said. "We were much more organized and felt like a bigger 'institution' in terms of being a large group, rather than a smaller 'family' feel, which isn't bad, but it was definitely different."
Page 2 of 2 - Linville said he was extremely pleased with the show, especially when reflecting on what he thought at the beginning of the season.
"I told them just before we went out that we had a great senior class last year and we had a lot of freshmen, so everything was stacked really for us not to be as good as we have been in the past and we continue to exceed from the year before," Linville said. "We do this year after year, we keep getting better, I don't know how we keep doing it, but we did."
Up next for the AHS band is the concert band season, where the band splits into two bands. Linville said this is to compensate for the large enrollment in band.
"It's nice for a marching band to have 162 members, it makes a big sound and everything, but you can't really do that in a concert band," he said.
Haque said she is excited for the concert band season to start.
"I prefer concert season, mostly due to my low athleticism during marching," she said.
Linville, too, is looking forward to the concert band season.
"I always look forward to concert season," he said, "because that's when we get to do the more in-depth music. It will be a good year for us."