Reeds Spring High School will host Ozark Mountain Marching Festival on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Reeds Spring High School is set to host 25 high school marching bands during the Ozark Mountain Marching Festival to help fund a trip to Florida. 

According to a press release from Reeds Spring School District, the Ozark Mountain Marching Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 23. The event begins at 8 a.m. with a preliminary round of performances, with the top 12 bands advancing and performing in the finals at night. Ticket prices to attend are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, and $3 for students.

Reeds Spring School District Director of Bands Josh Garoutte said the festival is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school’s Wolf Pride Marching Band. 

“This will be the 13th year that our program and boosters have put on the Ozark Mountain Marching Festival, which is no small feat given how many marching festivals are offered in the area,” Garoutte said. “The Ozark Mountain Marching Festival is definitely our largest fundraiser of the year, and it supports the Reeds Spring Band Boosters in their efforts to provide the best opportunities and experiences for the students of the band program.” 

Garoutte said the Reeds Spring Band Boosters are a volunteer group who supports band students. 

“Our booster organization is volunteer only and supports the band by providing for the needs of students through taking care of uniform alterations/cleanings, show t-shirts, equipment, instruments, travel expenses, props/costumes, hundreds (if not thousands) of collective meals for the kids, and being there to cheer on the kids as they strive for personal excellence through the music activity,” Garoutte said. “The Reeds Spring School administrative team has worked hard to make sure our students have what they need within the typical budget limits that each school faces, but sometimes bands need more to succeed, or more to be able to provide for our kids. The simple fact is that all of the preparations, equipment, logistics, and travel of a typical marching band season costs many thousands of dollars; between football games, exhibition performances, and competitions, the boosters make sure to do whatever they can to support the kids above and beyond what the administration is expected/able to do.”

The festival is the Wolf Pride Marching Band’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The group plans to travel to Orlando, Florida next June, according to the release. 

“The Wolf Pride band is traveling to Orlando to give the students the opportunity to perform publicly for thousands of people from all over the world, to learn through cultural exposure and musical performance, and to make sure we provide the type of trip that will generate memories for a lifetime,” Garoutte said. “In addition to performing on stage for people from all over the world at Universal Studios Florida, as a part of the Disney Imagination program we will work with a Disney professional conductor/musician on a piece of Disney music we have never seen, rehearse/learn it with them for a short time, then record the piece live in the studio.  After recording, we will receive a video of the band’s recording accompanying a Disney animation or live action movie, putting our kids into the Disney universe; this session will give them the opportunity to feel what it is like to be a professional recording musician.  Learning and performance experiences of this caliber aren’t available to everyone, and our students have worked extremely hard to earn this honor and to fundraise their way to Florida.” 

Garoutte said the festival is about more than just the music. 

“I think it’s important to know that our marching festival isn’t only for band kids and their parents-we really want the festival to be a celebration of the activity and its participants,” Garoutte said. “It would be great to see the public come out and cheer for the hard working students (and their parents and directors!) as they strive for excellence!”

Garoutte explained the last year has been tough for everyone in the program. 

“The Wolf Pride Band has always been a successful, hard working group of students, parents, and supporters, but this year feels different,” Garoutte said. “During the odd (and somewhat disappointing) year caused by COVID in 2020, we weren’t able to put on the same kind of events, performances, and competitions that are normal for us.  For obvious reasons, this made coming back to the activity that much tougher for everyone involved, but it hasn’t stopped these kids, these parents, or this program.”

Garoutte said his favorite part of any marching festival is the people. 

“My favorite part of the Ozark Mountain Marching Festival is the same thing I love about any marching music festival: Seeing students, directors, and families from all over the region come together to present their shows, cheer each other on, and celebrate the hard work and excellence that band kids show every day,” Garoutte said. “Regardless of the competitive outcome, a marching festival is truly a celebration of what is right with our students today (and therefore the future of America)---hard working people, supportive peers, friendly competition, and a great time celebrating the accomplishments of others!”

Garoutte said he is extremely proud of the band this year for all their hard work.

“Our fall show is entitled “Perseverance” after the NASA Mars Rover---after all we are playing a space themed show---but it has also taken on a different meaning for this year.  55% of our students are new to the marching band activity this year, but to see these kids work hard, press on through a tough situation, and continue to achieve excellence, it’s tough to tell many of them are ‘rookies’. I can’t think of a band I have been more proud of in my time as a teacher, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the school district, parents, band boosters, and especially the kids for making it possible for us to continue to pursue musical and personal excellence together once again.  (They) are all awesome!”

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