Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO band to perform in national Bands of America event

Thursday, September 28, 2023
SEMO marching band executes their performance for the upcoming Bands of America Super Regional Championship event for spectators at the SEMO home football game on Sept. 9.
Photo by Hunter Caldwell

For the first time, the SEMO marching band will perform for thousands of people at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana for the Super Regional Championship of Bands of America. The annual event, on Oct. 21, is one of the biggest national showcases of competitive marching in the nation.

“I think the last time we did something of this scale was when we performed in Super Bowl V,” SEMO band director Jim Daughters said.

Daughters compared the level of this event in marching band to playing at the Rose Bowl, the oldest and one of the most famous American postseason college football contests.

Bands of America holds the championship event nationally to provide the opportunity for high school bands from across the country to come and compete, SEMO band captain Chris Mosher said.

Bands of America is hosted by Music for All, which is a national music education organization meant to support active music-making, according to the Music for All website.

The Super Regional Championship will include two days of performances with nearly 100 bands participating. High school bands from across the country will showcase their music during the Bands of America event. This event will also include special exhibition performances, where the SEMO marching band will have the opportunity to perform.

SEMO will be showcasing its talent alongside Purdue University in front of thousands of spectators. Bands of America is primarily focused on high school band competition, but two universities receive invitations to showcase their talent.

The SEMO marching band will be performing four songs during the event. They will be presenting the works “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “You Give Love A Bad Name” and two concert band pieces that are arranged for marching band.

It’s not a competition for SEMO, but rather a showcase for high school bands to see what they will get to do in the future, should they continue in marching band, SEMO band director Jim Daughters said.

“It's also a great recruiting event for us,” Daughters said. “It gets broadcasted nationwide so there will be tens of thousands of people watching along with a packed stadium.”

High school bands will perform their rehearsed show and be judged accordingly, Mosher said. The judges critique the level of achievement of each band as they cycle through, leaving only a 5-minute window between each performance, he said.

“It’s a very continuous cycle,” Mosher said. “All of the bands will come back on the field [at the conclusion of the event] and the scores will be announced.”

SEMO marching band trombone player Seth Steelman said he is excited to perform at an event of this level, as he was never able to in high school.

“Coming from a smaller school and just from a smaller area, there wasn't really a whole lot of opportunity as far as this goes,” Steelman said.

Although the event is a competition for high school students, the experience is one that is exciting even as a collegiate level marching band member, Steelman said.

“I've never had so much fun being in a marching band before, and just playing at this capacity and this level,” Steelman said. “Music has been a big part of my life, so just being able to be a part of [Bands of America], like this in college, just means the world to me.”