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7th annual Band Blast to be hosted by Southeast Bulloch
Festival preps area bands for upcoming competitive marching season
Matt Olsen
Southeast Bulloch High School band director Matt Olsen makes sure his musicians hit all the right notes even before beginning their performance at the 2018 Southeast Bulloch Band Blast Festival. - photo by Scott Bryant

The Southeast Bulloch Marching Band, aka “The Swarm,” will host the 7th annual Band Blast Festival Sept. 28 from 1:30 to 9 p.m. With 16 bands signed up to participate, the festival will serve as a conditioning round for the upcoming competitive marching season.   

“In football terms, this event would be called a scrimmage. It gives groups the opportunity to know what they need to work on for the season,” said SEB band director Matt Olsen. 

Although there won’t be a champion named or a trophy given at the end of the night, the bands in attendance will receive crucial feedback from a panel of six judges and one clinician. At the end of each band’s show, the clinician will take members off the field and provide critiques on what was seen during the performance. The judges’ feedback will serve as a starting point for which direction the bands need to go in order to improve their programs. In other words, if directors and participants heed the judges’ comments, the Band Blast can serve as an educational stepping stone to a superior competitive season.

While anxiety runs high for participants to earn a good pre-season score, they won’t be the only ones putting in work. The Band Blast takes a lot of effort, both for the participants and for members of The Swarm. From unloading equipment to passing out water, all 100 members of SEB’s marching band will be volunteering their time. The event operates on student power, as well as help from band boosters.  

“We couldn’t do it without our awesome boosters and students,” Olsen said. 

At the end of the day, The Swarm will suit up to perform their 2019 show entitled, “Come Fly With Us,” which features songs by Frank Sinatra, The Who and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others. The performance gives SEB band members a chance to have some fun of their own after a long day of hosting. 

The Band Blast Festival is open to the public with a $5 admission fee for ages 5 and up. Ages 4 and under are free of charge. 

For guests who are unable to attend the pre-season festival, The Swarm is scheduled to perform in a number of other competitions this fall. This will include shows at Veterans High School on Oct. 5, Effingham County High School on Oct. 12 and Statesboro High School on Oct. 26. Each of these performances is a perfect opportunity for anyone who wishes to support these hardworking students, as well as those who love music and want to see what marching band is really all about.

The Swarm bows
Festival hosts The Swarm of Southeast Bulloch High School take a moment to enjoy the reaction of the crowd after becoming the last of 11 bands to perform during the 2018 Southeast Bulloch Band Blast Festival. The festival serves as a tune-up for the upcoming marching band competition season. - photo by Scott Bryant
Johnny Folsom
Forty-year veteran judge Johnny Folsom rouses members of The Swarm while giving feedback after their performance during the 2018 festival. - photo by Scott Bryant
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