School marching band competition heads to Ginowan

Kakazu High School band members show their mettle.

The 26th Marching In Okinawa 2013 Tournament is set for Monday afternoon on Okinawa, with bands flocking to Okinawa from across the island.

The drum beats start at 1 p.m. at the Ginowan Convention Center, where S-seat tickets are on sale for ¥2,500, ¥2,000 gets an A-seat, front standing spots are ¥1,500 and B-seat tickets are going for ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children.

Nishihara HS Band impresses with its precise movements.

The annual event is sponsored by the Japan Marching Band Association Okinawa Chapter, with the competitive entertainment broken into three categories. Organizers say it’s not really important whether spectators understand the difference between the fresh section, the festival section and the all Japan tournament selection, but they’ll enjoy themselves.

Not only the marching bands will be in action, but visitors will see the techniques of the baton twirlers too! The public is invited to take in this tournament, seeing the best marching bands of Okinawa show off the impressive performances they have practiced so hard for.

Okinawan schools, and particularly Nishihara High School, are famous for their high level marching bands. Nishihara is widely considered to be one of the world’s best marching bands and second to none.

The Nishihara Senior High School Band was formed in 1984. Consisting of 108 members ages 15 to 18, it has competed in events in Japan, the USA, Australia, and the Netherlands. Among their many accomplishments, the band members were awarded “Grand Champion of Concert Band Contest and Field Show” at the 1995 National Holiday Bowl Festival in San Diego, USA, and 1st prize in the parade division at the World Music Contest, the Netherlands. In 1999, they were the 1st runner-up at the World Association of Marching Show Bands World Championships in Sydney, Australia. In 2001 they won the Grand Prize at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, and the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) world championship in Potsdam, Germany, on the same trip. The band has won the national Japanese championship several times.