Ten high school marching bands from three states will converge on the field of Francis Scott Key High School tomorrow night for a Festival of Bands competition.
The third competition of the season will find nearly 900 youths competing for trophies and a chance to advance to state and regional championships this fall.
A special exhibition at the end of the show will feature the U.S. Army Military Old Guard Drill Team a 30-member unit from Fort Myer, Va. The team performs with military-issue rifles with bayonets.
As the host band, Key's students won't compete but will be the exhibition band, performing theme music from the recent movies "Hook" and "Robin Hood." Key's 47-member band includes 37 musicians, nine color guards and a drum major.
Twelve judges from the National Judges Association will award first, second and third prizes in each of four groups: 35 or fewer playing positions; 36 to 55; 56 to 80; and 81 members and up.
Key is a Group II band that went from fifth to second place in recent competitions.
Dennis Davis, band director for the past five years, said, "A lot is going well in a balanced way this year. All the various elements are making good progress."
The field leadership belongs to drum major Joanna Linthicum, a senior who plays flute and percussion in the concert season. She loves the role.
". . . when I'm out on the field with the band, it's the biggest rush. I feel wonderful and I don't want it to end," she said.
Band festivals feature color, artistry, decorative flags, twirling color guard rifles and young musicians eager to perform.
Mr. Davis said, "The whole activity is a combination of great music and the pageantry that goes with it -- the color of the costumes and the flags, and the variety of the music is very appealing."
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for school-age children and senior citizens at the gate. Proceeds will benefit Key's band program. Refreshments will be sold.
Show time is 6 p.m. at the school, on Bark Hill Drive between Uniontown and Middleburg. Call 848-2422 for information.