By Jason Wesseldyk
Traditionally, the Otsego Band Invitational has been one of the largest high school band competitions in the state.
That tradition continued this year.
A total of 19 schools participated in the 38th edition of the invitational on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Otsego High School band director Mitch Piersma said it was a rousing success.
“With weather we had, it was amazing,” Piersma said. “We had 19 bands—we were supposed to have 20, but unfortunately one canceled—and it made for a packed afternoon and evening of great music.
“We are one of the biggest Scholastic Shows for this year, with only two other shows having more bands than us. All the time I am reminded of what a great place Otsego is to live and work. This was no exception.”
The band invitational began at 3 p.m., which was just about the same time the Bulldog Invitational—which draws hundreds of cross country teams—was wrapping up across the street. The two events use the same parking spaces, and therefore had to be coordinated in their efforts.
“I thought the cross country invite and our event worked together quite well and the transition between the two was seamless,” Piersma said.
Piersma listed the different music selections and performance choices of participating schools as one of the highlights of the invitational.
“I love to see everyone’s creativity,” he said. “The music selections were really nice this year, I thought, and the show themes were really well done.
“I also like to chat with the directors, as I know most of them, so it is a great social day for us too.”
The Otsego marching band’s theme this year is “Blue Ice.” It blends classical, modern, rock and jazz. The songs included in the performance are George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” the jazz number “Blue Moon,” Strauss’ waltz “The Blue Danube,” “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice and “Troika” by Sergei Prokofiev.
“Our marching band really nailed their first two songs,” Piersma said. “It was entertaining and fun, but still held the precision and accuracy we have been working for.
“The kids seemed to tire a bit after that, but it was still a good show despite the parade earlier in the day (at the Creative Arts Festival in downtown Otsego), having our night rehearsal last week rained out and having this be our first competition performance of the year.”
In the upcoming weeks, the Otsego marching band is scheduled to perform at the Hastings Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 7; at the Granville Invitational and the Vicksburg Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 14; and at the Jenison Invitational and the East Kentwood Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 21.