published Friday, November 4th, 2011

Competition draws bands from eight states

Twenty-nine high-school marching bands from around the Southeast will converge on Chattanooga's Southside on Saturday to compete in the U.S. Scholastic Band Association's Southern States Championship.

"This is the largest group we've ever had," said Dr. Stuart Benkert, UTC


  • What: USSBA Southern States Championship.

  • When: 1-10 p.m. Saturday.

  • Where: Finley Stadium, 1826 Reggie White Blvd.

  • Admission: $13.

  • Website:


  • 3:42 p.m. East Ridge High School.

  • 4:52 p.m. Cleveland High School.

  • 6:30 p.m. Soddy-Daisy High School.

band director. "We've got bands coming from as far as Missouri and Louisiana. That's huge. Our goal for this show is to reach 40, and I think we'll be at 40 next year."

USSBA is a division of Youth Education in the Arts, whose mission is to teach young people life skills through performance opportunities. Saturday's competition in Finley Stadium is one of nine USSBA events being held that day in locations from North Texas to New England, according to its website.

"What's interesting about this event is that eight states are represented -- Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Missouri -- and there are not many bands from the nearby Chattanooga area," said Sean King, USSBA marketing director.

"This is more of a 'super-regional' type format," King said of the local event's high number of competitors.

Gates will open at noon. Following the national anthem at 12:55 p.m., Murphy (N.C.) High School's band will begin the show at 1 p.m.

Competition begins with bands of smaller sizes and builds to the powerhouse groups by evening. A new band takes the field every 15 minutes. Grenada (Miss.) High School will conclude the performances at 9:30 p.m.

First, second and third places will be awarded in each classification.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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