First Coast Marching Invitational attracts area’s top marching bands

TCL Nease FCMI 1611

By Theresa Greco
mail@floridanewsline.com

A record number of music fans, approximately 3,000, attended Nease High School Marching Band’s sixth annual First Coast Marching Invitational regional marching competition on Saturday, Oct. 15. A Florida Marching Band Coalition (FMBC) sanctioned event, this invitational is the only regional competition held in St. Johns County. 

Event coordinator and band parent Paula Hallock said, “We are so excited to host the event for the biggest numbers ever.  It gives our school a chance to promote all the pageantry of marching band and showcase all of the positive aspects that this activity offers students.”

Sixteen marching bands competed in the event, including local bands from Trinity Christian Academy, Pedro Menendez, Middleburg, St. Augustine, Fletcher, Orange Park, Ridgeview, Sandalwood, Ponte Vedra, Oakleaf, Mandarin and Fleming Island high school. Several bands came from outside the area to compete as well: Warner Christian Academy from Daytona Beach; Largo High School from Largo, Fla.; Buchholz High School from Gainesville; and Oviedo High School from Orlando.

The Fleming Island Golden Eagle Band was awarded Grand Champion of the event with their show, “If You Believe.” The Oviedo High School Marching Lions placed second with their show, “Imagine” and the Buchholz Golden Regiment placed third with their show, “The Planets.” Sandalwood High School was awarded Fan Favorite with the performance of their show, “Music of the Night.”

As the school hosts, Nease High School did not compete in the event; however, they did perform their show, “Vedova Nera” at the end of the evening as an exhibition. Nease has competed in one marching competition so far this year at Middleburg High School; the band earned Grand Champion of that event.

Proceeds from the First Coast Marching Invitational go towards Nease’s competition expenses as well as toward the purchase of new instruments, instrument repairs and student scholarships. 

Nease High School has 150 members in the marching band program and more than 280 students in their music program, which includes marching band, concert band, indoor percussion, color guard and winter guard, all under the direction of Michael Johnson, music educator at Nease High School. Last year, the marching band received the highest scores at two regional competitions and placed sixth at the Florida Marching Band Coalition state competition in Tampa. This year the Nease Marching Band will compete in two regional competitions, as well as return to state competition. 

Visit prideofstjohns.org for more information about the Nease High School Band and www.floridabandtournament.com for more information about the Florida Marching Band Coalition.

Theresa Greco is the vice president of fundraising for Nease Band Boosters

Photo courtesy Theresa Greco

All finalist bands lined up on the field for finals awards