Football season is here, which means it's time for marching bands to take to the field.
Bands from high schools across the state will gather in Ahwatukee Foothills for the fifth annual Mountain Pointe High School Lionhearts Band Invitational this Saturday, Sept. 25, at the school, 4201 E. Knox Road.
The event will feature 13 bands from Sunrise Mountain, Maricopa, Lake Havasu and Saguaro high schools and more. Mountain Pointe itself will also perform. The bands will each play their halftime performance in front of the audience, as well as a panel of judges, and receive ratings for various aspects of their performance. Judging criteria includes music performance, visual performance and general effect. Bands receiving an overall score of two (excellent) or higher will be eligible for state competition in October.
The competitors will play a variety of themed shows, such as "Cyborg: where fiction becomes reality," "Music of Symphonie Fantastique" and "Into the West."
The program is put on by the Mountain Pointe booster club, said Rozanne Janacek, who is treasurer for the club and chairman of the festival.
Mountain Pointe's band director Josh Hartgrove has also been heavily involved in preparing for the event.
"They ultimately come to me, but ... he's the one that put the word out to all the high schools in the state," Janacek said.
Hartgrove, who has been band director at Mountain Pointe for nearly three years, said the school benefits from hosting the annual invitational; it serves as an educational opportunity for the students involved. In addition, he said the event also functions as a fundraiser for the band.
On average, the event brings in approximately $5,000 per year, Hartgrove said. Funds raised from the invitational will go to Mountain Pointe's band program, he said.
Josh Snyder is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a senior at Arizona State University.