Marching bands from across eastern North Carolina will bring their families and fans to Snow Hill on Saturday to compete in the 40th Annual Greene Central Band Day.
The storied event is expected to bring 1,000 or more people to town for an afternoon of marching and music on the Greene Central football field, 140 School Drive. Early forecasts for Saturday call for sunny skies with high temperatures about 75.
Band day in the past has drawn as many as 3,000 with bands coming from out of state to compete, said Greene Central band director Andrew Howell. Most groups this year are rebuilding from the pandemic shutdown in 2020.
“Almost all bands lost their competitive seasons last year, so these high school marchers are just happy to return to the field,” Howell said. “For many, this is their last chance to perform with their band and many would love to take home an award.”
Band Day once was the single biggest event in Greene County from year to year, Howell said. Much of the community still remembers that time and would love to see it return to that prominence, he said.
“I really believe it can be an event that brings the entire community together around our schools and music programs,” he said.
Bands are expected from Nash, Wilson, Craven, Sampson, Onslow, Orange, Halifax, Martin, Perquimans and Gates counties. The event begins at 3:30 p.m., admission is $8 and volunteers and sponsors are needed.
Visit https://sites.google.com/view/gcramband/40th-band-day?authuser=0 for more information and to register for sponsorships volunteer jobs, or email Howell at email@example.com.
Bands will compete before a panel of judges for awards for best in music, marching, color guard, drumline, effect and drum major. The most sought-after honors are the William Kieth Ginn high percussion award, which goes to the best drumline of the night, and the Joan Wooten Murphrey Grand Champion, which goes to the highest scoring band of the entire night.
The three main categories for judging are music, visual and effect. Music is judged on the difficulty and accuracy of the performance. Visual is for the marching of the band members and the flag, rifle and dance work of the color guard. Effect is essentially based on how the band excited the crowd.
Howell said the Greene County band programs have a rich history and have been blessed with amazing directors over the years. “Mr. Ginn, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Shaw, the list goes on. And throughout all of those years, the Greene Central Marching Band has always been successful,” he said.
The band under Ginn went from never competing, to first place in eastern North Carolina, to hosting the Band Day, to marching in the Macy’s Day parade all within a decade. “We are known by band directors all over the state for the awards we’ve won and hosting our Band Day,” Howell said.
More recently the band has drawn its pride from different sources, Howell said. His first year in 2019 was tough competitively and the pandemic prevented competitions in 2020.
“But even through COVID we have managed to double the size of our drumline and color guard and this year they have been outscoring bands with twice as many members,” Howell said.
At the Edenton Peanut Festival, both the color guard and drum line came home with first place trophies, he said.
“It has really been great to see the band grow these past three years and watch the hard work the students and myself have put in really finally pay off. The hope is that it culminates with an amazing turnout for the Greene Central Band Day.”