Corozal Community College Marching Band, the 2010 Bandfest winners, repeated as champions of the wind category at the Love FM Eighth Annual Bandfest at the FIFA Goal Project Stadium in Belmopan last Saturday, March 24.
CCC took home the $6,000 first prize and band leader. Omar Charley received the Winners’ Sceptre for the best band from Bandfest sponsor, Governor General Sir Colville Young.
The 40 musicians and 24 majorettes and dancers wowed the judges with their stunning music, their marching formation both on the streets of Belmopan and in the stadium.
Their repertoire included hits by Rihanna, L.M.F.A.O. Katy Perry, and they played salsa, cumbia and soca medleys with a gusto which commended the players to the audience.
Their majorettes beat the midday heat wearing blue and white satin sleeveless outfits with sequined masks patterned after the Rio de Janiero Carnival, and their acrobatic dance moves on the field also won them the $2,000 prize for Best Choreography from Oceana, presented by Oceana’s Vice president, Audrey Matura Shepherd.
They also won the $1,000 prize and trophy for Most Popular Marching Band, determined by the text-voting open to all Telemedia’s Digicell customers. The voting closed at midnight on Friday, March 22.
It was Benque Viejo’s Marching Band’s debut at the Bandfest, and Benque played topnotch music. Fully half of the 55 band members are still in primary school, and they won instant admiration.
Their repertoire included Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” and “Having the time of my life” from Dirty Dancing. So impressed were the judges that they voted them second best in the wind category. Band director, Andres Chiroy accepted the $2,500 prize from Love FM’s Chief, Rene Villanueva Sr.
Five-times Bandfest winner Succotz Festival Drum Corps, 70 members strong, has won acclaim even at the regional level. Led by Band Director Jose M. Pinelo, Succotz was impressive as always. But the band had to settle for the $1,000 third prize this year, a testament to just how good the winners were.
Holy Redeemer School Marching Band returned 50 strong under the direction of band manager, Philip Murray and band leader, Carlos Perrote.
Holy Redeemer recaptured the title of Best Drum Corps for Marching Bands without wind instruments. Holy Redeemer DrumCorps has reigned supreme for three consecutive years: 2009 – 2011. It won again in 2013 — the $4,000 first prize, a trophy and individual medals in this their seventh outing at Bandfest.
The Delille Academy Drum Corps in only its third outing at Bandfest, switched from its traditional black and gold uniform used for the street parade to pink and celestial blue outfits for their stadium presentation. Delille won the $2,000 second prize in the Drum Corps category.
It was also the Belmopan Active Youths Marching Band’s debut at Bandfest, and it captured the $1,000 third prize in the drum corps category. Belmopan Mayor Simeon Lopez himself presented the award and congratulated them. The smart white jackets and long black trousers of the players also won the $1,000 prize for Best Uniform, which was judged when the parade began on the Ring Road in Belmopan.
Bandfest just keeps on growing with a total of 14 bands competing this year. Competition in the wind instrument category was fierce as the Mount Carmel Marching Band from Benque Viejo with 10 majorettes and 40 musicians returned to give all a run for their money.
The Western Xunan band from San Jose Succotz, 50 members strong, directed by Antonio Chan, was back, as was the San Ignacio & Santa Elena Dreams Marching Band with 50 members, directed by Oscar Cano and John Gongora.
Five other bands competed in the drum corps category. Last year’s second place winners – the Sarteneja United Drum Corps returned with 65 members, directed by band leader Antonio Rivero. The Mahogany Heights Dreams Marching Band, 60 strong and directed by Mrs. Ednamae Garbutt, was also back for its second year. The Stella Maris Futuristic Marching Band with 32 girls and 28 boys of diverse abilities, under band director Penelope Mcdonald, returned for its sixth outing in Bandfest.
The winners of the first ever Bandfest 2006, the St Luke’s Methodist School Marching Band, returned after a one-year absence, and the Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band was back for its second year.
The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence Band did not compete, but marched in the street parade and entertained the stadium crowd with its repertoire which opened with the Zacatecas March, the popular calypso “Drunk and Disorderly” and a Caribbean medley.
Also entertaining the audience which packed the 5,000 seat stadium to capacity was the Music from the South Band which played a medley of September celebration tunes and the old-time Belizean favorite “Yu can go Gial, but you must come back”.
Visiting from La Ceiba Atlantida, Honduras, was the San Isidro Bilingual Institute Martial Band, which impressed the audience with its precision marching in formation in the street parade and in the stadium.
The Jesse White tumblers, visiting from Illinois, USA, were also part of the intermission entertainment and performed along with the BNE Tumbler group from Belize City, and the Dangriga tumblers.
Using a small trampoline, the Jesse White tumblers soared to impressive heights and distances in both in the street parade and at the stadium.
The Drumline Competition has been a staple of Bandfest since the St Luke’s Methodist Drummers challenged the Mt. Carmel Drummers to a face-off at the 2007 Bandfest at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, but it could not be held this year.
The Football Federation of Belize had given Bandfest organizers a “Cinderella deadline,” to be out of the stadium by 6:30pm, to make way for the international friendly football match with Trinidad, scheduled to start at 8:00pm.
Organizers announced that the drumline competition would be held another time at a place to be announced.
Rene Villanueva Sr. also presented a plaque of appreciation to platinum sponsor, Scotiabank, and to the Governor General, whose Music in Schools program spawned the Bandfest craze.
Villanuea also made presentations to representatives of other corporate sponsors: Benny’s Homecenter, Belize Natural Energy, the Bowen & Bowen group, Telemedia’s Digicell 4G, Galen University and Oceana.
Missing in action at this year’s Bandfest were the Uprising Drum Corps of Orange Walk, the ACC Survivors, the Central Drum Corps of Orange Walk, the Sadie Vernon Marching Band, and the Blazing Clashers Band from San Estevan