Tournament of Bands Turns 40

The Tournament of Bands celebrates 40 years of Atlantic Coast Championship events in both spring indoor and fall marching band competition. The organization, founded in 1972 by the National Judges Association, consists of more than 400 competing schools and organizations mostly in the northeastern United States.

“We’ve really developed an educational program for instructors and directors that allow them to become a part of the judging process,” says Jeffrey Dent, director of Tournament of Bands. “The directors develop the rules for Tournament and help change them and modify them as needed every year.”

To celebrate its 40th, TOB will award $40,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors. At each event four students will receive a $1,500 scholarship while14 students will receive $1,000.

“They went through an online application process, and a committee of educators are reviewing the applications and scoring them based on a rubric of academics and participation in school music activities,” Dent says. “For the past 15 years, we’ve done $500 scholarships, so this is a huge investment in students that we’re presenting for the 40th anniversary.”

The indoor championships took place May 3 to 6 in Wildwood, N.J., the event’s home since the 1970’s. About 250 groups in color guard, twirling, dance, percussion, jazz and concert ensembles from more than nine different states performed. A few special events highlighted TOB’s anniversary. These included an alumni reception and historic display of costumes and memorabilia from past champions.

Fall championships will be at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. “We see [TOB] continue growing and educating directors and students,” Dent says. “Part of the scholarship program is our investment in the future to allow students to go to school and hopefully become music educators and come back and participate.”