With the exception of one year, Brady has hosted the Region VII UIL Marching Band Competition for the past 38 years, and once again a flurry of teen spirit and motivation will make its way back to Bulldog Stadium this Saturday (Oct. 18) as 27 bands perform hoping for a Division I rating. With band performances beginning Saturday at 9:45 a.m., nine 1A schools, 12 2A schools, four 3A schools and two 4A schools will send their marching bands to Brady to compete for the rights to attend the 2003 area contest. Irion County, directed by James Bode, will kick things off Saturday and bands will follow every 15 minutes until a lunch break at 12 noon. Eden High School, directed by Kathy McNelly will take the field at 10:30 and the Menard band directed by Steve Hanson will perform at 11:15. Class 2A will begin at 1 p.m. with San Saba, directed by Rebecca Whitley. Former Bradyite Corey Ash, who is the band director in Mason, will lead his band to the field for a 2 p.m. performance. Only four 3A schools are scheduled to perform Saturday. Llano will start the group at 4:15 p.m. followed by Early at 4:30 and then Ballinger at 4:45 and finally Brady at 5 p.m. Three judges will score and rate each school’s performance in this year’s contest. Warren Thaxton of Abilene will be accompanied by Rodney Bennett of Munday and Joey Lucita of Kyle. All judges participating in this year’s event are either retired or current band directors. Each band that receives a division one “superior” rating this weekend will advance to area. If no band in a particular classification receives a superior rating, then the judges will choose two bands from that classification and advance them to area. All bands are given a total of five minutes to enter and set up on the field and a two-minute period to exit. The actual playing time of each school’s program is limited to eight minutes. The Famed Brady Bulldog Band will perform its contest show at 5 p.m. under the direction of Butch Crudgington. Hostesses for this year’s marching contest are the Brady Bulldog Band, Brady Band Boosters and Brady ISD. The FBBB will field approximately 126 individuals including the band, flags, rifles and drum majors. The band will perform a a halftime show centered around songs all of which contain the word “sun.” “We will be performing Soak Up the Sun, House of the Rising Sun, Let the Sun Shine In and Don’t let the Sun Go Down on Me,” said Butch Crudgington. This year’s area competition will be held in Waco on Oct. 25, but Brady and the other 3A schools will not be advancing. “This is the year that A, 2A and 4A schools advance,” said Crudgington. “We alternate years going to the higher levels of competition mainly due to the costs involved with attending the competitions. It can be quite cost prohibitive to the larger schools.” “We really like it when the Brady townspeople come out to support our band throughout the contest.” The FBBB will be aiming for first division ratings from all three judges in hopes of continuing the trend of receiving first division titles. Under Crudgington’s direction, the Famed Brady Bulldog Band has received 16 first division titles over the past 17 years. The band boosters will tend to the concessions at the all-day event and are still in need of volunteers to help throughout the day. Any interested individuals who want to help the band boosters are encouraged to contact Crudgington at Brady High School at 597-2491.