October 24, 2012 - ALMA – Somebody up there must like the Wildcats as evidenced by what happened when Oxford competed at the Alma College Marching Band Invitational on Oct. 13.
"It was cold and very, very rainy," said OHS Band Director Jim Gibbons. "Thankfully, the rain stopped for our performance. We were very lucky."
That break in the weather allowed Oxford's musicians to shine as the marching band achieved the highest overall score at the Alma competition. The Wildcats earned a very impressive 86.5 out of a possible 100 points.
"That is the highest score we've ever gotten at a competition," Gibbons said. "That's a very good score."
Gibbons noted, "I feel like had the weather been better, we would have played even better. That was frustrating for us."
Typically, a good score at these competition is 75 and above, so Oxford's score is quite exceptional.
"I was expecting us to get a higher score because we were marching at a higher level than we were two weeks earlier (at the Chippewa Valley Marching Band Invitational in Clinton Township)," Gibbons said.
At the Chippewa Valley Invite Sept. 29, Oxford scored an 82.9.
"The show had gotten better," Gibbons said. "We'd made a lot of improvements and adjustments, fixed some problems. The band was definitely marching better, so I was pleased the score went up and the kids got to see their work pay off."
At both these competitions, Oxford performed its halftime show entitled "Pirates of the Caribbean," which features music from the 2003 blockbuster movie starring actor Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Oxford was one of 12 bands that competed in the Alma College Invite.
"We were the biggest school there," Gibbons said. "It was mainly schools from the middle of the state. We definitely traveled the furthest."
Gibbons explained this competition afforded students some great exposure to the college experience.
"I wanted to give our students an opportunity to be on a college campus," he said. "I don't know of any other colleges in the state that host the competition right on their campus.
"They got to march in a college stadium and most importantly, they got to see a college marching band. The Alma College band played after we did. They got to see the next level of being in band. They were all very impressed."
The public will have an opportunity to see and hear all the OHS bands – jazz ensemble, concert, symphonic, wind ensemble and marching – perform in one place during the annual "Band-O-Rama" event scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 at the high school's Performing Arts Center.
Admission is free. "Obviously, we want to have as many people in the community as we can come out for this," Gibbons said.
The marching band will be performing its "Pirates of the Caribbean" halftime show.
"People hear the marching band out on the football field, but they don't get to hear us play inside and it is a different sound," Gibbons said. "I think it's really impressive to hear the band play when they're inside."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.