By Kellen M. Quigley

The annual Pageant of Bands tradition is returning to Springville for its 57th year this weekend, May 17 18.

Presented by the Springville Kiwanis Club and Springville-Griffith Institute, SGI students run the festival while also performing as an exhibition group in both Jazz and Marching bands.

“Preparations have gone well this year,” said Joe Gervase, SGI high school band director, “except for the weather not agreeing with our marching band rehearsal schedule.”

Set to compete this year are bands from 18 different schools this year, which Gervase said has been the consistent level of participation over the last nine years.

“We are always looking to recruit new participants and should have some new schools in the coming years,” he said.

Although things are pretty much the same this year, Gervase said there are a couple of new additions to the line up: Andover Central and Grand Island Middle School.

“We are one of the last remaining band pageants in New York state,” he said. “It is a testament to our school and the Kiwanis Club of Springville for the commitment and work they have done to keep this pageant going. It shows how committed our community is to the arts and the preservation of this important festival.”

The pageant consists of competitions in Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Band, Indoor Percussion and Indoor Color Guard. For the students, Gervase said it provides a positive environment where schools of all sizes can perform and compete.

“Although it is a competition, the schools that come are all very supportive of each other,” he said. “In the end, the most import aspect of the pageant is the two days of music making that happens from schools all over the area.”

Other districts with schools competing include East Aurora, Genesee Valley, Forestville, Portville, Lancaster, Kaegebein, Casey and Amherst.

On Friday, schools compete in the Jazz Ensemble portion. Competitions are held in the high school auditorium from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Saturday, the Concert Band portion will be held in the high school auditorium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Percussion and Color Guard Competition starting at 11:45 a.m. in the gym.

The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, with the Springville middle school and high school bands leading the way. Following the parade, the mass retreat and awards presentation will be held at Pop Warner Field.

This year’s highlighted students from Springville are Pageant Queen Abby Stressinger, Middle School Pageant Queen Maria Rumfola and Pageant Musician of the Year Ethan Keyser.

Gervase expressed his thanks to the Springville Kiwanis Club for “all their work and effort that goes into the Pageant every year to make this great event happen.”