‘A-Town’ organizers hope for dry Saturday

Published 1:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2013

Plans are still in place to have the eighth annual A-Town Invitational marching band competition tomorrow at Andalusia’s Municipal Stadium.

Tropical Storm Karen is currently brewing and churning its way north in the Gulf of Mexico, and weather forecasters predict it will make land fall early Sunday morning.
AHS band director Bennie Shellhouse said all who have been organizing the competition are “hoping and praying that we’ll have it.”

“That’s our plan right now is to go with it,” Shellhouse said. “I’m hoping the storm stays to the south of us that day and waits to come in on Sunday.”

Because of the storm, Shellhouse said he had to adjust the start time of the competition to more than an hour earlier at 11:45 a.m.

There will be 16 schools, ranging from Class 1A-6A, participating in the invitational, which is one of Andalusia’s biggest fundraisers.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” Shellhouse said. “If it falls through, that’s a good 30 percent of our budget (gone) — that comes from this contest.”

The moneys raised go to help with travel expenses for the marching band and to buy instruments, Shellhouse said.

“It just goes to help run our band program,” he said.

Schools competing are Highland Home, Red Level, Florala, Escambia County, Headland, Brantley, Flomaton, Luverne, Opp, Rehobeth, Elba, W.S. Neal, Straughn, Saraland, Daleville and Foley.

Additionally,  Andalusia High School and the University of South Alabama’s marching bands will perform.

The format of the invitational is that every school has an alloted amount of time to get on the field, perform their halftime routine and get off the field. The time format for bigger schools is around 20 minutes, while smaller schools take less time, Shellhouse said.

Judges will score each band by their maneuvers, marching fundamentals and sound techniques, to name a few.

This year’s judges are Greg Faulkner of Prattville, who will judge the drum majors; Anna Teal of Andalusia, who will judge the majorettes; Eric Bailey of Evergreen, who will judge the drums; James Sewell of Bainbridge, Ga., Johnny Brewer of Andalusia; and David Cagle of Crestview, Fla., will judge the bands.

The master of ceremonies will either be Brian Capps or Jim Walker.

Despite the threat of weather, Shellhouse said everybody’s looking forward to the invitational.

“I really think it’s going to turn out to be a pretty good day,” he said.