Cavalcade of Bands hit a big milestone—its 60th anniversary—in October 2019.
The not-for-profit competition circuit attracts schools from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland to perform at the interscholastic level in marching band and jazz band.
In the 1950s, band directors and judges saw a need for a competitive association in the area. On Oct. 27, 1959, Cavalcade of Bands debuted its first marching band show. The organization later added a jazz band division in 1988. The group also operated an indoor division from 1971 to 2018.
Cavalcade of Bands consistently has 20 to 40 shows per year and about 130 member schools, says Paul Smith, executive director.
“It’s quite humbling … that we’ve been able to consistently provide for marching bands and jazz bands—and, up until this year, indoor groups—a competitive outlet and a place to perform and grow,” Smith says.
Even six decades later, the organization’s foundation remains the same: Directors run the show. Since directors have a vested influence, the organization remained stable and grew, Smith says.
Since the organization ceased its indoor circuit this year, Cavalcade of Bands plans to “refocus our efforts” and “provide more educational opportunities” to its marching band and jazz band members, Smith says. However, he does not yet know what those opportunities will be.
Cavalcade of Bands will host a banquet on Nov. 30, and Smith is creating a 60th anniversary video to celebrate the occasion.