The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 24, 2011

Webbstock draws bands, spectators on Saturday

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Webbstock drew 29 high school marching bands from as far away as St. Louis and Warrensburg on Saturday, and thousands of spectators throughout the day. They filtered in and out of the stadium as their hometown bands performed.

Among the visitors were Jodi and Mark Harmon, who drove in from Springfield to watch their son Johnathon, a sophomore who plays low brass, performing with the Hillcrest High School marching band.

“We’re going to five of these this year,” said Mark Harmon as he turned around to show the list on the back of his bright orange T-shirt. “Webb City, Springfield, Reed Springs, Carthage, Warrensburg. It’s a good experience for him.”

Each band took to the field in a carefully orchestrated performance. They were competing for bragging rights and the tallest of trophies.

It was the seventh year for Webbstock, and took months of coordination by Webb City Director of Bands Diana Williams, as well as the support of school personnel, Band Boosters and area sponsors.

Williams said she was pleased with both the turnout and the weather, which held at a steady 65 degrees most of the day under overcast skies — perfect for students marching in full uniforms.

Some 3,000 students were on the field throughout the day, beginning with Miller High School. As each left the field, they headed for a 30-minute clinic with judges who offered feedback — one of the draws to Webbstock, Williams said.

“Band directors appreciate the comments, and know we have top-quality, highly regarded judges from across the country. They can get instant feedback a half hour after they leave the field, ask questions, get answers and ideas, and implement it immediately when they return home.”

Carl Junction High School freshman Waylon Campbell, a clarinetist, said no matter how challenging it was to prepare the show and what kind of score his band received, his reward was being proud of his performance.

“We did really good,” he said, as a group of a dozen fellow band members nodded in agreement. “This made it all worth it.”

The 100-member Carl Junction band, under the direction of Ryan Churchill, performed “Divide: The Blue and the Gray,” a commemorative piece to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

“I love that song,” said junior Tony Sfortunato, Carl Junction trumpet player. “There’s a lot of emotion in it. This was our best year yet.”

His fellow band member, Landon Hight, sophomore trombone player, said he had just five words to describe it: “Best time of my life.”

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