Leesburg High School hosted the Central Florida Marching Arts Invitational on October 1st this year, which is the second largest marching even in the state of Florida. There are invitations sent to 23 other high school bands around Florida for them to attend and get judged on their performance by judges from FMBC and other organizations. The students at Leesburg volunteer to fill jobs that need to be worked throughout the day; some jobs include, but are not limited to: Judge runners, Pit crew, Concessions, Shaved ice, Guides, and many other things.
The bands that attended are: Santa Fe, Warner Christian Academy, Newberry HS, Trinity Catholic HS, Lake Region HS, Weeki Wachee HS, The Villages Charter HS, Bell Jr\Sr HS, Forest HS, East Ridge HS, Taylor County HS, Oak Ridge HS, Astronaut HS, Lake Minneola HS, Springstead HS, Bartow Academy, Lake Howell HS, Celebration HS, Palm Beach Gardens HS, Gainesville HS, Eau Gallie HS, West Port HS, and William R. Boone HS. Every band has a different time to be at the high school, so once bands arrive, the guides guide them off the bus and to a practice field around the campus so they can warm up and prepare for their performance. After the warm up, the prior band will exit the field, and the next band up will enter and perform. After a band has performed, they will pack their instruments and uniforms up and watch the rest of the bands preform, and stay for the finalists. In between the very last band to preform and the judges decisions as to who the top 10 bands were, there is a break for refreshments and concessions and merchandise.
After the 10 finalists have been announced, and the judges are making their final decisions as to who the finalist will be based on another performance of the 10 finalists bands performance, the Swarm of Sound volunteers return back to the band room
to take a two hour nap. The importance of this nap is tremendous on a scale of working out in the beating sun for up to 12 hours prior. The girls are split away from the boys, and will sleep in the chorus room, whilst the boys sleep in the band room. Once everyone is in, the lights are turned off, and it is silent for the next two hours. As the finalists bands are preforming to determine who the final band is, the Swarm of Sound band members are resting their minds and fatigued bodies for the final performance of the night.
After the two hours are over, everyone is awoken and the Swarm of Sound get in their uniform and head out to a practice field to warm up for their performance.
It is tradition for the hosts band to preform last after the final decisions of the judges. As the band marches to their field, they wait for the signal to say it is okay for them to enter the field for the last judging of the night.
As you'd expect, the anticipation of being in front of a vast crowd of people and several judges and the fatigue takes a tole on everyone, as there are many mistakes in Leesburg's performance. The good thing about it is that they pulled through. Although there were many mistakes, the Leesburg Swarm of Sound pulls through and finishes the performance, despite being exhausted and lacking the energy. They exit the field with exuberating smiles on their faces.
As the Swarm of Sound undresses, The finalist is chosen: Gainesville HS takes the first place trophy for CFMAI 2016! The other 10 finalists are: Weeki Watchee HS, Bartow Academy, The Villages Charter HS, Springstead HS, Eau Gallie HS, Gainesville, Santa Fe, William R. Boone HS, Lake Minneola HS, and Lake Howell HS. Congratulations to the finalist and Gainesville!