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Music to take center stage at Thomas Jefferson festival

If you go

When: Saturday at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Where: Thomas Jefferson High School stadium, 310 Old Clairton Road, Jefferson Hills.

Cost: Tickets are $6. Children younger than 5 years old get in free.

What: Thomas Jefferson High School band festival, sponsored by the TJ Band Patrons. Visiting bands: Monessen, Alderdice, Avella, Obama Academy, Greensburg Salem, Edison, Mt. Lebanon, West Mifflin, North Hills and California University of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

There's something special about sitting in the stands, watching the performances and techniques of the other bands, checking out the other uniforms, props and sets and trying to determine exactly what song it is that they're playing, members of Thomas Jefferson High School's marching band said.

Performing their own show, this year to the tune of the “American Classics,” for a crowd that has come only for the music also makes each band festival noteworthy, they said.

“People are there to see you, not the football team,” said Thomas Jefferson High School senior Anna Stedding, 17, who is co-captain of the school's color guard. “It's fun to see all of the other bands.”

More than 1,000 youths will perform on the Thomas Jefferson High School Jaguar field on Saturday at 7 p.m. during the 11th annual marching band festival, sponsored by the TJ Band Patrons. Doors open at 6 p.m. with live music in the stands.

Ten visiting bands are scheduled to perform in the festival.

“It's really to bring the community together and to bring bands from around the area here that we might not see during the football season,” band director James Mirabella said.

While the event is strictly for fun, the students and band directors alike agreed they want to do their best at the festival for the community and to show other local bands what they're made of. “They come here to do their best and to say, ‘Hey, I'm the big boy on campus.' There's a slight competition,” Mirabella said. “When we invite other bands to our house, we don't want to be shown up.”

Each year, Thomas Jefferson band leaders attempt to add something unique to the festival.

“Come and listen,” Mirabella said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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