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Buckeye Classic lets bands check out competition

This time last year Jennifer Boggess was helping out behind the scenes. But for this Buckeye Classic she was front and center at her first classic as part of Ironton High School’s color guard.

“It is overwhelming and exciting to see this,” she said as band buses unloaded at the parking lots near Ironton High.

There were 14 bands participating Saturday night showing off their best routines and numbers to see if they could get the judges’ nod.

Since Ironton High was playing host, it meant Boggess and her colleagues had to wait to go on last.

“It is nerve-wracking, but it is so exciting,” she said.

Jordan Scott, also on the color guard, knew what the drill was as far as the competition. But she was far from blasé about the night.

“It is really exciting. It is really a good experience,” Scott said. “This is the only time we compete.”

Two hours before show time, at 5 p.m. at Tanks Stadium, musicians were dragging kettle drums and tubas out of buses; getting in a few minutes of last minute practice; and just gossiping to calm pre-show nerves.

“This is pretty fun,” said Joshua Fields, a marimba and vibraphone player from Sissonville High, north of Charleston, W.Va.

“I like music and I’m not afraid to be in front of crowds.”

His classmate, flutist Devon Daugherty, appreciated the chance to take in the competition.

“I think this is cool because you get to see how good your band is in comparison,” he said.

At least for the competition Mason Traylor from Portsmouth West, was channeling Michael Jackson as part of his band’s Halloween-themed performance.

“We had a good score in the last competition,” Traylor said. “There are more bands here. It’s exciting. We have a new band director, Michael Pierce, and he has really turned the band around.”

Inside the Collins Sports Center, Ironton High band mothers and grandmothers had laid out a buffet dinner for band directors, coaches and bus drivers for chili, cold cuts, liver pate and casseroles.

Volunteering as a hostess was Diana Young, whose granddaughter, Shelby Kitchen is a majorette for Ironton High.

“The kids can get together and have a good time,” she said. “They are all so talented. At least I think so.”