Local marching bands to perform during annual Groves invitational

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 23, 2015

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BEVERLY HILLS — Each week, excited fans file into bleachers at their nearby football field for a bit of exciting fall rivalry.

But not everyone in the stands is there for the touchdowns — for some, the halftime performance from the marching band is the main event. And it’s those people who wouldn’t dare miss the annual Groves Marching Band Invitational fundraiser, which will return this Saturday to the school’s stadium on 13 Mile Road.

Seven high school marching bands will participate in this year’s clinic: Groves, Seaholm, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Walled Lake Central, Walled Lake Northern and Berkley. The musicians will get the chance to perform the halftime shows they’ve been preparing all summer in front of a preview crowd and a musical expert, who will critique the presentations to help the groups improve.

According to Groves Band Boosters Co-President Sherri Levitt, who has two sophomore students in the marching band, unlike some similar invitationals, the Groves event doesn’t charge bands to participate. Instead, funds are raised from spectator admissions and concession sales.

“Everything we raise goes into the general fund, which is used at the discretion of the director (Michael Burkett) to upkeep and replace uniform pieces, repair instruments and things like that,” said Levitt.

She added that with 900 student musicians expected to participate in this year’s event — up from 500 last year — the number of spectators should increase as well, and hopefully the money collected too, for such a worthy cause.

Seventeen-year-old Groves senior Wayman Jones said the pressure to present a perfect performance has certainly increased this year too. The bass drum player has been in the marching band since he was a freshman and said the thrill of performing never gets old — but neither does the anxiety.

“I love listening to the music when it starts to come together. When you’re marching your steps and the music is playing, it’s amazing,” Jones said. “Right now we’re working on (the performance). There’s usually a little bit of pressure each time we go out, but it’s the seniors’ and juniors’ job to take on some of that pressure and put the freshmen at ease and let them know this is what we’ve practiced for.”

During the performances, spectators can enjoy hot chocolate and snacks for sale, and purchase tickets for a 50/50 raffle.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and festivities begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Admission costs $5 per person. For more information, visit www.grovesband.com.

The Groves High School stadium is located at 20500 W. 13 Mile Road in Beverly Hills.