California State Band Championships

This year, California marching bands had the opportunity to vie for a state championship title during the first California State Band Championships, held Dec. 1, 2007.

The Southern California Judging Association (SCJA) created the event in hopes that it would unify the state’s marching band to compete for a singular title, says Tom Philips, SCJA president.

As one of the largest states in the nation, California has plenty of band competitions and circuits—including the Western Band Association, the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and Northern California Band Association—but never had a single state championship until this year. Unlike these other circuits, the California State Band Championships is a one-time event rather than a series of competitions.

“One of the goals I had coming in was to create this championship,” Philips says. “There’s such a big gap between all the cities, so no one’s ever bothered to put something like this together. I’ve always wanted a single state championship, so we sent out a mailer over the summer and started the event.”

The SCJA owns the name “California State Band Championships,” so organizers can designate a singular state champion in each of five size categories. The first annual California State Band Championships attracted 23 bands from around the state for the competition at Bellflower High School.

“It was a great turnout,” Philips says. “It was very successful. The bands that stayed for the evening event were very worthy. We’d like to have more bands involved because everybody has a shot.”

Next year’s championships will be held Nov. 29, 2008. For more information, visit

Photo by George Guajardo. All rights reserved.

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