October 09, 2013 - Their placement was lower, but their score was higher.
Oxford High School's Marching Band took third place out of seven Class A schools at the Brandon Invitational Saturday in Ortonville.
The Wildcats scored an 83.8 out of 100 points, which is an improvement over the Sept. 28 Chippewa Valley Invitational where Oxford received 76.7 points and took first place.
Oxford also earned an excellence award for its musical performance.
"It was a great, great finish," said Oxford Band Director Jim Gibbons. "The big thing that I was happy about is that our score went up by 7 points. Everything was strong . . . Lots of really nice comments from the judges. I was, overall, very pleased with where we were at this weekend."
Oxford edged out the Holly High School Marching Band, which scored 79.8.
Typically, a good score at these competitions is 75 and above.
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-kown "James Bond Theme," the show features songs from 1964's "Goldfinger," 1973's "Live and Let Die," and 2012's "Skyfall."
Gibbons was particularly pleased with Oxford's third place finish considering the top two schools – L'Anse Creuse (94.6) and Gibraltar (88.9) – are part of the "ultra-competitive" Michigan Competing Band Association.
Bands that compete at that level spend loads of money on elaborate shows and lots of time rehearsing, according to Gibbons. For instance, he estimated that L'Anse Creuse spends about $50,000 to $70,000 annually on its show.
Gibbons noted L'Anse Creuse hauls their show props and other equipment in a semi-truck whereas Oxford uses a 26-foot trailer. "It's just a different league from where we're at," he said.
Oxford will compete in Alma College's Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12. The Wildcats will face two other Class A schools – Muskegon and Livonia Stevenson.
Gibbons likes the idea of giving Oxford's musicians the chance to march on a college football field and watch the Alma College band perform.
He believes playing in these competitions is a good motivator for his students and a good way to expose them to quality talent from around the state.
"For us, it's nice to go see and hear really good bands," Gibbons said. "We're seeing bands from all over the place."
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.