This past Saturday, the Kiltie Marching Band— KMB—hosted their annual Kiltie Invitational.
During this event, high school marching bands travel to Alma College to compete against each other. It is an all-day event for the band and many different aspects go into the running of the invitational.
There were 9 bands performing at the invitational this year, competing in Classes A, B, C and D. There is a panel of judges that scores the bands on their performances in different categories and at different levels, depending on their class.
“The contest uses a 4-judge scoring system, 2 music categories totaling sixty points (thirty musical performance/thirty musical effect) and 2 visual totaling forty points (twenty performance/ twenty effect),” said Dave Fair, Alma College alumni and the music department percussion intern.
Even though this event is hosted as a competition for the high school bands, it is also a recruitment tool to encourage students to continue marching band after high school.
“I think invitational day is an amazing way to show high schoolers what marching band is like at Alma College. The high school bands get the opportunity to perform, compete and express their passion for music, and the Kiltie Marching Band illustrates how the students could continue that passion in college,” said Julia Ettema (’21).
This event happens every year and the Kiltie Marching Band’s manager is in charge of organizing the event.
“Overall, the event was a success. It couldn’t have been a success without the help of Dave Fair, Mr. Zerbe and the whole KMB though. I arranged a lot of the event, yes, but Mr. Fair and Mr. Zerbe were the ones who were also key players,” said Jacob Holt (’20).
The band moves in on campus 2 weeks early to start preparations for their show. The KMB show this year is titled “Modern Romance” and features some unique aspects not commonly found in marching performances. It is a jazz fusion themed performance featuring songs by Jacob Collier and Dirty Loops.
Ettema plays a solo in the show on the flugelhorn. “I worry about switching between instruments in the middle of the show, bringing both instruments to rehearsals and performances and making sure both instruments and the microphone work, but there are a lot of people who work so hard to make sure everything goes smoothly, and I am so grateful for them,” said Ettema.
Before the KMB performed in exhibition, high school bands performed at Bahlke Stadium. These high school bands include St. Louis, Bad Axe, Farwell, Columbia, Ithaca, Alma, Port Huron Northern, Oxford and— the overall winner—Holly.
The bands came to the event and stayed all day to support all of the performing ensembles.