By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County High School’s band will host its annual Marching Yellow Jacket Invitational this weekend, which has become one of the area’s largest marching band competitions this weekend.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, 18 bands from Middle Tennessee are scheduled to compete on the Creekbank in the 13th annual event. Bands will compete beginning at 10 a.m.

In previous years, the Trousdale competition was the largest in the state with as many as 30 bands, but band director Rob Joines said having five Saturdays in September provides other schools more leeway to schedule events. Joines said the Yellow Jacket Invitational would be as exciting as it always has been.

Amanda Gregory / For The Vidette

“It’s a pretty large competition,” Joines said. “The first band is at 10 a.m. and is Franklin County. They’ve got close to 100 in their band.

“Almost everyone from this part of the Highland Rim is coming: Jackson County, Upperman, Macon County, DeKalb County… We’re pretty blessed to have these bands coming. We started with nine and have grown to as many as 30!”

The Marching Yellow Jackets have received trophies at each competition they have attended this season, taking third place overall at Hendersonville, second at Clarksville Northeast, first at Station Camp and first in small division (third overall) at Westmoreland.

The band’s percussion, guard and horn lines have also placed in the various competitions.

“The kids have worked extremely hard beginning in April, and all summer,” Joines said. “Our goal is to make the finals at the Tennessee Division I State Marching Championship.”

Joines added that one of the judges will be a man named John Trousdale, a graduate of Castle Heights Military Academy who lives in North Carolina.

“He saw the Trousdale County name on Facebook and started following me,” Joines said. “He came to judge us last year and is coming back this year!”

One thing that makes the Yellow Jacket Invitational different is that each class is limited to no more than three bands, based on relative attendance of their combined winds and percussion. The largest three bands are placed in Class A, with the next three largest in size placed in Class B, and so forth.

“This means that smaller bands don’t have to compete against bands with 20 more students in them,” Joines said. “We want the competition to be as fair to each band as possible.”

In addition to competing within classes, each band competes for the overall sweepstakes winner. Forrest High has won the Yellow Jacket Invitational 12 out of the past 13 years. There will also be a winner of the best Guard, Percussion, and Field Commander as well.

“God has really blessed us,” Joines said. “We have the best field in the state, the best support from the football coaches who paint the field for us, the best facilities, the best support from the community, the best announcer in the Voice of the Yellow Jackets, Jerry Richmond, the best school administration, and the best parents who run it. The competition is so large that the TCHS cheerleaders began helping us last year, too.”

Joines added that the local economy is affected by the invitational. “With so many bands, over 1,000 students, plus hundreds more parents, flow into Trousdale County. They stop at restaurants, stores and gas stations. We feel like we are also representing the hard work and success that is inherent in our Trousdale County schools, whether it is excellent academics, competitive athletics, or successful arts programs.”

Admission to Saturday’s event is $7 for adults. Children under 5 will be admitted free. Concessions will be sold as well. The Marching Yellow Jackets are scheduled to perform in exhibition at 3:45 p.m. and the awards ceremony will begin at 4 p.m.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports