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Buckhorn High School was awarded Grand Champion at the inaugural Rocket City Marching Invitational on Sept. 23 at Madison City Schools Stadium. PHOTO / Buckhorn High School Band

Buckhorn, Muscle Shoals, Grissom top Rocket City Marching Invitational

MADISON – Bob Jones High School Band successfully initiated a thrilling new tradition for Madison with the inaugural Rocket City Marching Invitational.

The contest attracted approximately 2,500 people to Madison City Schools Stadium on Sept. 23.

In Class A, Madison Academy with director Sara Ann Schaffer presented “Spirit of Rock,” featuring “Get Ready” – The Temptations; “Dream On” – Aerosmith; and “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen. John Paul II Catholic High School performed, “It’s All About the Music,” with selections “Estancia,” “Go Wit D’Flow,” “I’ve Got the Music in Me” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.” Amanda Merring directs JPII.

In Class AA, Elkmont High School, directed by Bryan Pigg, presented an “Elvis” tribute with “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “Burnin’ Love,” “C.C. Rider” and “Hound Dog.”

The next four bands are in Class AAA. With director Ty Parker, Athens High School’s show, “Top Billboard Hits” featured “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Call Me,” “Proud Mary” and “Free Bird.” Muscle Shoals High School’s performance of “The Shoals” included original music by Justin Williams, “Shall We Gather at the River,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” Jessica Hood is director.

Directors Stuart Tankesley and Andrew Kirk at Huntsville High School led students for “Tis the Season” with “The Nutcracker” excerpts; “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Winter Wonderland.” Grissom High School’s show, “Blackbird Set Free,” featured “Blackbird” – Beatles; “Bouree in E Minor” – J.S. Bach; “Bird Set Free” – SIA; and “Firebird” – Stravinsky. Theo Vernon is director.

In Class AAAA, Buckhorn High School’s program, “Wanted,” included “Wanted Dead or Alive” – Bon Jovi; “Theme from The Magnificent Seven” – Bernstein, “Paint it Black” – Jagger/Richards; and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” – Ennio Morricone. Jacob Souder is director.

As host school, Bob Jones Band’s exhibition performance of “Duel,” showcased “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”- Morricone; “Mars” from “The Planets” – Gustav Holst; “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana” – Carl Orff; “Hide and Seek”- Imogen Heap; and “Separate Ways”- Journey.

At Bob Jones, Leigh Thomas is Director of Bands; Kevin Smart is Assistant Director.

Finals award winners were Athens for “Best Overall Drum Major,” Muscle Shoals, “Best Overall Visual Ensemble (Auxiliary Units)” and “Best Overall Music”; Buckhorn, “Best Overall Percussion,” “Best Overall Visual” and “Best Overall Effect.”

Buckhorn was named Grand Champion. Muscle Shoals took second place and was voted “Fan Favorite.” Grissom claimed third place.

The Rocket City Marching Invitational was hosted by Bob Jones High School Band and KODA Technologies.

The 2023 sponsors were KODA Technologies, U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, WLRH, TOC – The Orthopaedic Center, Greg Machen Photography, Dr. and Mrs. Ed Nichols, Campers Inn RV, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Qualis Corporation and Monte Sano Research.

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