LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Formerly known as the “Showdown at Sundown," the Lake Charles Toyota Gulf Coast Marching Band Championship is held annually at Cowboy Stadium.
Hosted by McNeese State University, high schools from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, gathered Saturday, Oct. 27, to compete for the highest rank, superior, in each category; be it color guard, general effects, percussion, and music. The best overall band earned the title of “Grand Champion” and one special band won the Kaizen Trophy, which is given by the sponsor of the event.
This year was the largest competition yet, with 30 bands competing.
"We’ve got a top-notch set of music educators giving comments to these students so they can take it back to their band programs, and make each of their individual high school programs better and their individual performances better, and hopefully see that there’s more that they can do besides high school in music,” said Jay Sconyers, band director for the Pride of McNeese Marching Band.
The high schools pick a theme their performance revolves around. Everything - from their music, costumes, art used as their backdrop, and even their formations - revolve around the theme.
Local high school bands were also present.
“It’s a good kick in the pants for them," said Mack Golden, band director for Westlake High School. "They really enjoy showing off what they’ve been working on so hard and then being able to be rewarded at the end of it tonight with the awards and seeing other bands, and seeing what all the other schools are doing.”
Many students who formerly competed are now band members at Pride of McNeese, including former Westlake High School student Jade Flores.
“High school level is more of a competitive thing as they’re doing right now," Flores said. "University is more laid back but still thrilling because we don’t do festivals, we just perform for the crowd.”
But for Golden, it’s more than just competing.
“Yes we have some that end up going to college in music which is wonderful but I just want them to have a love for music and share that love for music for the rest of their life,” Golden said.
The Kizen Trophy went to Barbe High School, Lake Charles, LA. The top five overall scoring bands are as follows:
1. (Grand Champion) Pasadena Memorial High School, Pasadena, TX.
2. Lafayette High School, Lafayette, LA
3. Grenada High School, Grenada, MS
4. Lumberton High School, Lumberton, TX
5. Sulphur High School, Sulphur, LA