Band festival

About a month from now the sounds of trumpets and trombones, tubas and drums will fill the air while flags are flown and rifles tossed in the 62nd Annual Chilhowie Community Apple Festival Band Competition in Chilhowie.

“This is the oldest continuously running band competition in the region,” said Logan Childress, band director at Chilhowie High School, which is hosting the event in Warrior Stadium.

Although the Apple Festival ended with last year’s event, the former Chilhowie Community Apple Festival Committee has agreed to let the band competition continue to use the name. The town of Chilhowie has undertaken the planning of an event that will closely resemble the former Apple Festival. The Chilhowie Community Fall Festival will take place Sept. 25-28 in the downtown area.

Childress is organizing the band competition in partnership with Emory & Henry College providing volunteers from among the college’s music department. They will be on hand to help guide the band members, park buses, stamp hands and assist the adjudicators (judges). Volunteers will also include festival committee members.

This is Childress’ second year of organizing the band competition and he implemented a new online registration and reminder system that has helped increase participation. “We have 18 bands registered, but we are expecting several more so we may have 20 to 25 bands,” he said. “That would make it one of the largest in the past 10 years.”

Some of the bands will march in the festival parade Saturday morning and competition will begin at 2 p.m. in the high school stadium. Spectators are invited to come and watch the bands perform. Admission is $5 and concessions will be available from the Chilhowie Band Boosters.

The Chilhowie Mighty Warrior Band as host will not compete but will offer an exhibition at the end of the day with its new show “Dancer in the Dark.”

“It’s about a dancer who comes to a small town, like Footloose with custom music and a twist,” said Childress. It was written by Scott Lambert of Bristol. Band members had special T-shirts designed for this show and they also have new game shirts with the school logo, Childress said, and are excited about the festival and the football season. Chilhowie will host Northwood High School for its homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

The band has 51 members this year, including 41 players, eight color guard and two additional instructional staff. Tyree Manns instructs percussion while Theo Ganaway is in charge of the color guard.

Competition for the Chilhowie Mighty Warrior Band will take place this fall at the Lonesome Pine Band Festival in Wise, the McChesney Band Competition in Big Stone Gap and the Letcher County Invitational in Kentucky.

The band members are set to entertain the crowd at the Apple Festival Band Competition with their new show. Before that, however, will be competition among the participating bands seeking a coveted superior rating and the Pat Miller Grand Champion Award, named for a former CHS band director.

Childress said the competition will be divided by classes of A (1-35 players), AA (36-48 players), AAA (49-61 players), AAAA (62-84 players) and AAAAA (85-plus players) with first and second in each class for the categories of music, marching, general effect, auxiliary, percussion and drum major. A plaque for ratings of “superior,” “excellent” or “good” will be presented to each band as a field score based on music, marching and general effect.

Two division champions will be chosen for A-AAA and for AAAA-AAAAA and a grand champion for the day will receive the Pat Miller Award. There will also be first-, second- and third-place prizes of $100, $75 and $50 presented by the town for bands participating in the parade.

Adjudicators for the competition are local and regional individuals who are active or experienced in their respective band instruction. Competing bands registered so far come from Smyth, Washington, Wythe, Grayson, Pulaski, Wise, Carter, Greene and Johnson counties as well as Bristol and Radford. Registration is due Sept. 12 with late-fee registration open until Sept. 17.

“Come and enjoy the band festival,” said Childress. A schedule for competition will be posted at

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