This time of year — between now and mid-October — area marching bands spend their Friday nights under the lights pumping up the crowds at football games. Saturdays are sacred, too.
These are the days when the halftime show becomes the main event and marching bands step off in competition.
The first marching invitationals and contests in the corridor take place Sept. 28 in Marion.
Linn-Mar High School will host its marching band festival at 9 a.m. Following that contest, many bands will travel down the road to Marion High School’s football field at Thomas Park for Marion’s competition.
The following weekend, Iowa City High and Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids host contests. State follows on Oct. 12.
On Oct. 14, the bands will put their competitive differences aside for the annual Metro Marching Band Classic.
There will be more than 1,200 metro area performers from Jefferson, Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Marion, Prairie, Washington and Xavier. Featured guests will be the University of Northern Iowa Panther Marching Band.
The classic, which culminates the marching band season for Cedar Rapids/Marion area high school marching bands, originally was conceived 16 years ago as a non-competitive showcase for local high school bands that would also serve as a fundraiser for the band programs. To date, the invitational has raised more than $300,000, with proceeds divided evenly among the eight participating bands.
The event was once held indoors at the U.S. Cellular Center. While that arena was closed for renovations, though, it took place at Linn-Mar High School in 2012 and outside at Kingston Stadium in 2011.
This year, the classic begins at 6:30 p.m. with a rain date of Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance or $9 at the door.
Find details at Indoormarchingband.com.