Marching bands from around California are making their preparations for the 35th annual Grape Bowl Classic this weekend, hosted by Lodi and Tokay high schools’ bands.
Decked out in their parade best, students will show off their talents in performing, playing music and working as a team at the Lodi Grape Bowl and a few other sites in the neighborhood. The community is invited to attend the event and enjoy a day of band music.
As hosts, the Lodi and Tokay bands will perform during the revue, but their work will not be counted in the final scores and awards.
Several food trucks will be on-site to offer refreshments for students and spectators.
The profits from the event will be split between the two schools to support the band programs, which can cost upwards of $35,000 a year for instruments, uniforms, music and instructors.
"It's a well-run event, and we're getting it into tip-top shape," said Armitta Witt, a member of the Lodi High Band Boosters. "We're still going strong, and we want to get more kids out there."
What to see
- The parade in the morning showcases the bands' marching skills, preceded by the drill team and flag bearers. Bring a lawn chair and stake out a spot on the parade route to see dozens of performances come right to your feet. Midway along the route, the drumlines will have their moment to rock out. The parade events begins at 9 a.m. on North Stockton Street behind Lawrence Elementary School.
- For a selection of classy tunes, check out the jazz competition. The jazz band divisions will each perform for 25 minutes on the lawn at Lawrence Elementary. It starts at 7 a.m. at 721 Calaveras St.
- The flashiest part of the day is the Field Show competition. Each band takes to the football field for a 15 minute show of formations, dancing and precise movement to music. It's a feast for the eyes and ears. The field show competition will begin at 4 p.m. at the Lodi Grape Bowl at 221 Lawrence Ave.
The major organizers include the band directors for Lodi and Tokay High Schools. Glen Guevara and Rob Barnes have both led their bands to prepare for the events.
Parade grand marshals include high school principals Erik Sandstrom and Bob Lofsted.
Bob and Helen Gross, two longtime Lodians, are responsible for beginning the Classic 35 years ago, and will attend it on Saturday.
Fourteen judges will be scattered among each competition to score the bands on their precision and musicality. Judges will follow rules set forth by the Northern California Band Association.
Five reasons to go to the Grape Bowl Classic
- Great music performed by some very hard-working teenagers.
- Incredible routine formations during the field shows.
- Dozens of variations on the high school band uniform. Some of those plumed hats are quite tall.
- Parades are a fun, cheap Saturday morning outing.
- Chance to support local music programs.