By Kelly Evenson

The Examiner

Thirty-five years. That is how many years bands have been flocking to Blue Springs to compete in the Blue Springs High School Marching Invitational.

While Tim Allshouse, director of bands at Blue Springs High School, loves seeing so many marching bands take the field at Peve Stadium each year, the amount of people the competition draws is a challenge.

“The massive number of people that descend on Blue Springs High School. That is our biggest challenge,” he said. “We actually use school buses to shuttle people to parking areas. Our parent volunteers are incredible and work 12 months on organizing this event. We encourage spectators to car-pool and to come early.”

The 2013 Blue Springs High School Marching Invitational begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Peve Stadium, 2000 N.W. Ashton Drive in Blue Springs. Twenty-four bands will compete in the field show, drumline and color guard categories.

Admission is $10, which includes preliminaries and finals. Parking is free.

“I always think it is refreshing and uplifting to come and watch teenagers doing something so meaningful and amazing with their time,” Allshouse said. “If you ever doubt the future of our country, watching these young men and women on the field will give you great hope for the strong future ahead of us.”

Each band will perform a field show with music, drill formations and routines by the color guard. Bands selected for finals include the high score from the 1A to 4A bands, the high score 5A band in preliminaries, the high score 6A band in preliminaries and then the next nine highest scores from the 5A/6A classification. Trophies are also presented in areas such as outstanding drum major, outstanding soloist, outstanding visual performance and outstanding musical performance among others.

The Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment does not compete during the festival, but will present an exhibition performance following finals.

Allshouse said he hears year after year that bands love coming to the Blue Springs festival for the outstanding organization by the parent volunteers as well as the audience. He said the audience is “very responsive” for every band, and every student leaves the field feeling great.

“I have many favorite parts (of the festival), but one the sticks in my mind is just looking across the entire campus and seeing the various colors of all of the schools and the mass of people that came to Blue Springs High School to watch and support the ‘sport of the arts’ marching band,” he said. “Blue Springs High School becomes a melting pot of a variety of states and a variety of music. The real winners are the audience.”