(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Nearly 500 students from 20 area high schools performed today at the 35th annual Tournament of Champions.
The band festival took place at Spratt Stadium on the campus of Missouri Western for the first time in two years. The competition did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"It's almost overwhelming because we forgot how busy life can be before the pandemic you know," said Joshua Knight the Missouri Western Director of Athletic Bands. "So I think for a lot of students, as well as myself, it's just kind of holding on for a wild ride. We're also just super excited and thrilled to welcome the students, and directors and parents to our campus."
Riverton, Lafayette, Mid-Buchanan, Sherwood-Cass, Albany, Benton, Lathrop, Lawson, Excelsior Springs, Maysville, Odessa, Savannah, Raytown, North Kansas City, St. Joseph Central, William Chrisman, Staley, Lewis Central, Platte County and Oak Park were the participating area high schools.
"This is very nerving for me, because I've never done something as big as this," said a Sherwood-Cass High School sophomore Ariah Cook. "I feel like it's going to be a good run. I think we're a small band, but I think we can really overcome our struggles and I think we've really got it set for ourselves," added senior Haley Charlton of Sherwood.
Each band has a 15-minute time slot to perform a set in front of the judges, other bands and visiting families.
"I have two daughters and a son that are performing today," said a Steward-Cass mom. "It's the most proud moment that a parent could have. All that hard work and practices they put in…it's a very proud moment."
The day of competition concludes with a performance from Missouri Western's very own Golden Griffon Marching Band.
“The university students are really excited to have this festival again, too," said Knight. "Because this is kind of a penultimate performance for us. We consider it an exhibition performance, and we have an audience of all band kids, right? Band and music and people.”