Seventeen high school marching bands will take the field in search of music gold at the 36th Annual Meadow Gold Rainbow Invitational Marching Band Festival tonight at Aloha Stadium. Countless hours of drills and discipline culminate on the turf as bands go shoulder-to-shoulder in a non-competitive event displaying pageantry and music mastery.
Hawaiʻi’s competitive marching band season is as intense as it is short. Many schools kick-off their pre-season training in May, selecting leadership positions for music department officers, section leaders, and color guard members. Early summer gives way to field practices and by mid to late summer, it’s time for band camp; the boot camp of the marching band world where rookies learn how to march “8 by 5”, translated as eight steps per five yards, how to decipher a drill chart, and new terminology that could qualify for foreign language credit.
Still students are eager to sweat with the best. It’s a sport of marching and music, an anomaly where coordination and concentration are BFFs.
The 2015 season kicked off in mid-October with the Menehune Classic Marching Band Festival, a pre-season event providing bands with feedback early in the season, critical for making necessary adjustments to a field show. On Halloween, bands assembled for the Tournament of Bands at Kamehameha, which featured a finale of 800 students dancing en masse to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
In early November, Pearl City High School hosted the Oʻahu Interscholastic Association Marching Band Festival, followed by the Mililani High School Trojan Bandfest. Of note, the Trojan band will be the first Hawaiʻi band to participate in the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can view their preliminary competition performance on Thursday November 12, 2015 here.
The Rainbow Invitational, remains one of the largest marching events of the Hawaiʻi band season, with representation from both public and independent schools. The finale is a favorite with students, as members of the 220 member University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warrior Marching Band perform for band participants. Many alumni hail from the pool of participating bands, making the performance bittersweet for both the college member and their former high school squad.
For some bands, the Rainbow Invitational will be their final field show of the season. Others, will wrap their season at the Kapolei High School Band Festival. It’s not too late to get your “band on” and support these hard-working student musicians.
- 36th Annual Meadow Gold Rainbow Invitational Marching Band Festival
Tuesday November 10, 2015 at Aloha Stadium
$10 – Adults
$6 – Youth (ages 7 to 18), Seniors (age 65 and up) & UH Mānoa student with student ID (2012 validation req’d)
Free – 6 years and under
- Kapolei High School Band Festival
Saturday November 14, 2015 at Kapolei HS
$7 – Adults
$5 – Students
After Saturday night, the books will close on another successful high school marching season. Attention will shift to holiday concerts and parades, but the memories made on the field will stay with these young men and women far beyond their final notes and footsteps. Congratulations to all participants on demonstrating excellence on and off the field!