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Band takes 1st place at Chippewa Valley Invite

The Oxford High School Marching Band performs its halftime show at the Chippewa Valley Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28. The theme for this year's show is music from James Bond movies. Photo by Ted Dickens, owner of OC Photoworx. (click for larger version)
October 02, 2013 - A feeling of deja vu must have come over the Oxford High School Marching Band as it once again took first place in the Class A division at the Chippewa Valley Marching Band Invitational Sept. 28.

Oxford scored 76.7 out of a possible 100 points. Typically, a good score at these competitions is 75 and above.

"Overall, I was pleased with the score," said OHS Band Director Jim Gibbons. "I'm really, really proud of how the kids are doing."

The top scoring band at the competition was Dakota High, a Class AA school, and it received an 81.3.

Last year, Oxford finished in first place with a score of 82.9.

Even though this year's score was lower, Gibbons believes "it was consistent with how early we are in the season."

"I thought last year's (score) was probably a little high for where we were in the season," he said.

For the competition, Oxford's 120-member marching band performed its current halftime show featuring iconic music from the wildly-successful James Bond movie franchise that spans five decades.

In addition to the well-known "James Bond Theme," the show features songs from 1964's "Goldfinger," 1973's "Live and Let Die," and 2012's "Skyfall."

"Honestly, I feel better about the show at this stage this year than I did last year," Gibbons said. "I think they've been progressing nicely throughout the course of the season."

For the Chippewa Valley Invitational, Oxford competed against only one other Class A school, Roseville High, which scored a 68.6.

Oxford will compete again on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Brandon Marching Band Invitation at Brandon High School (1025 S. Ortonville Rd.). The Wildcats will perform at 12:15 p.m. and compete against six other Class A schools.

After that, Oxford will hit the road to compete at the Alma Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Gibbons uses the competitions to help motivate students.

"It's a way to keep them sharp and constantly improving throughout the course of the season," he said. "They get to gauge where we're at against some of these other schools that are around us and (learn) what we need to work on to make our band better.

"I like the critique and the feedback that we get. I think it's beneficial to help us as directors and to help the students continue to improve."

Unlike football games where the marching band's job is to entertain a crowd that's there to watch a sporting event, these band competitions put the spotlight on the student musicians and make them the stars.

"What I like is they go to these competitions and perform for an audience that's there just to see the bands," Gibbons said. "The audience is very, very appreciative."

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.
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