Though a chilly wind blew through the West Forsyth High School stadium, wind players blew music to warm the soul.
The first Wolverine Classic marching band competition Saturday brought high school groups from Forsyth County and across the state to perform for judges and guests.
A dozen bands, including color guard and dance teams, showed off their 10-minute routines to receive a rating and awards in their size classification.
In the top division, Wheeler High School in Cobb County took first, followed by Forsyth Central High and South Forsyth High.
Event judge Rick Land, one of four for the marching band category, watched groups from the press box above the field and judged on music, visuals and general effects.
Land said the competition drew “outstanding groups” and some unique details, such as fiddle players and a Harlem Globetrotter.
The inaugural competition drew a lot of positive feedback and was “a great show overall,” said Patrick Gallagher, West’s band director.
Support from other county schools, parents of band members and the student volunteers helped make the event successful, he said.
“I think the students really enjoyed it,” Gallagher said. “It gave them an opportunity to interact and see things from a different side.”
As the host school, West Forsyth’s band, the Pride of the West, didn’t compete, but wrapped up the day with an exhibition show.
“It’s kind of a ‘thank you’ from your group to the audience, thank you for being here,” Gallagher said.
Sousaphone player Brandon Maidel, a junior, said the group’s goal is to put on a challenging and hospitable event.
“We want to make them come back,” he said.
Fellow band member Thomas Kizzar, a sophomore bass clarinet player, said he could more easily cheer on other teams since West wasn’t competing.
As the bands continue traveling to competitions this year, the West Forsyth squad will discuss plans to renew the Wolverine Classic, which is designed to serve as a band fundraiser.
“I think at this point, the plan will be to host this in the future,” Gallagher said, “and make it an annual event and make it bigger and better each year.”