In a long tradition of excellence, the McGavock High School Band Boosters will hold the 41st annual Music City Invitational on Oct. 19 on the McGavock campus. The event is storied in tradition and celebrates some of the best bands in the region. Preliminaries will begin at 10:15 a.m., and finals will begin at 6 p.m.

According to McGavock director of bands John David Hazlett, MCI was founded in 1979.

“It was started by the DuPont High School Band Boosters,” he explained. “But in June 1986, the contest was moved to McGavock High School Band Boosters.”

This was because DuPont closed. 

“Every year since, the contest has grown to be one of the best in the region,” Hazlett said.

This year, marching bands from four different states will participate in the contest that has a small-band division and a large-band division.

Nineteen schools will march and be judged to win the final prize, the Mayor’s Cup. Two trophies will be given away, one to a large-band winner and one to a small-band winner. The last two years, former Mayor David Briley presented the coveted trophies. 

Hazlett orchestrates the invitational. He graduated from McGavock High School in 1998. He was hired as assistant band director in 2004 and promoted to band director in 2013.

“About 1,000 band members will compete,” he said. 

And, the stands will fill with more than 1,000 attendees to see ninth through 12th graders compete in six different categories during preliminaries and finals. They are music ensemble, music effect, visual ensemble, visual effect, color guard and percussion. 

Because McGavock is the host, the McGavock marching band cannot compete, however, the 100-member band will showcase an exhibition at the end of the event to show off their excellence. 

Hazlett said, indeed, his band is top notch. They enter at least five big contests each year to compete, and each year the band takes part in the Contest of Champions at Middle Tennessee State University. This year, McGavock marching band will again participate in the contest Nov. 2

Out of 29 bands, the McGavock marching band finished third last year. 

“For 24 years, this school’s band won this huge contest, and received the Governor’s Cup,” said Hazlett.

Hosting MCI is one of the band’s largest fundraisers each year, and most proceeds come from ticket sales. A full-day ticket is $20 for those 11 and older, $12 for children 6-10, and 5 and younger will be admitted for free.

“MCI has a long-running tradition and is well respected in the area and region,” Hazlett said. “The contest features outstanding performances by incredible student musicians who have invested countless hours of preparation.”

A lot of Music City food trucks will be on hand for lunch and dinner.

Hazlett said he gets a lot of help from assistant director of bands David DePriest, MCI co-chairpersons Becky Farley and Kevin Walker and band booster president Katrina Chapman.

“We are excited again this year,” said Hazlett. “The contest hosted here has a long tradition of excellence, good judges and good representatives.”

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