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Hempfield Bandfest set for Saturday

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 8:44 p.m.
Hempfield Spartan marching band conductor Brian Tychinski and the high school musicians prepare for the band festival on Sept. 14.

Halftime performances are always one of the highlights of high school football games, with marching bands displaying their finest in music and entertainment.

The upcoming annual Hempfield Bandfest will offer the very best in shows from several local schools.

“This bandfest is a longtime tradition here at Hempfield,” band director Brian Tychinski said of the event that will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday. “It's a noncompetitive-type annual event that is used as a fundraiser.”

The event will feature performances from 13 high school bands, plus a few songs that will feature the district bands of Harrold, Wendover and West Hempfield middle schools.

Tychinski said that many of the bands who will be performing are repeat visitors to the event.

A few — such as Belle Vernon Area and Franklin Regional from Murrysville — are making return appearances to the band festival after a hiatus of many years.

“It's good to see those bands coming back,” Tychinski said.

Each of the performing bands will play three to four songs, taking the field for about 10 minutes each.

“They will all be performing their halftime shows,” Tychinski said.

The Spartan band, which numbers about 204 performers from grades 9-12, will also be performing its weekly halftime performance. Dubbed “Teenage Wasteland,” it features songs from groups such as AC/DC and The Who.

A new feature at this year's show will be the first appearance of the Alumni Band, past members of the Spartan band who will be making a return visit to take part in the event.

“I'm really excited about the Alumni Band — we have got a pretty good response,” Tychinski said.

Band members reached out to alumni via Facebook and word of mouth and interest was expressed by about 50 past marching band members.

“We have one alumni from 1971,” Tychinski said. “Most of the others are more recent graduates but we do have some from a few years ago.”

Tychinski said that they hope to make the appearance of the alumni group a new staple of the show.

“The alumni band is something that we hope to see grow and grow every year,” he said.

District Superintendent Andrew Leopold said that he looks forward to attending the popular event.

“I am always proud of our students, “ Leopold said.

In the case of rain, the performance will moved into the school gymnasium.

“This is a very well-attended event and, next to graduation, draws the biggest crowd every year in the stadium,” Tychinski said. “We see a lot of support from both our band parents and from the community in general. There are a lot of people who come to this every year just to hear the music. They don't even have any students here, they just like to attend.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.