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Planners Step Up Before Bands March

Randi Noble will breathe a sigh of relief late Saturday night. That's when all the music, marching and planning will be over, and the 21st annual Celebration of Sound will be in the record books. "It gets a little stressful that last week," she said at the final volunteer meeting before 15 bands assemble at Brien McMahon High School for the traditional kickoff of the fall competitive season.

When bands aren't playing pep songs at home football games, they're competing themselves in a season that stretches into November. Although technically not a part of that series, COS, as it's known, is the first chance for most of the bands in the conference to show their musical and marching chops in judged programs. The choreography and stage sets of some units rival those of Broadway shows, and the music is on a par with some of the best college bands.

In a COS traditions, the bands from Roton and Ponus middle schools will combine to play the opening Star-Spangled Banner. "It's a chance for those kids to get a taste of what they'll get in high school if they choose to continue," Noble said.

The performances begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and continue nonstop until 10. During that time, participants, families and fans will consume plenty of food. "We'll have a full kitchen serving several dishes, as well as the patio grill for hot dogs and hamburgers, pizza frites, and plenty of snacks," said Noble. The weather often affects what item is most popular; last year's unseasonably cool temperatures made coffee and hot chocolate the top items.

The gates open at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10, $7 for youngsters and senior citizens.

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