My favorite sound of autumn is easily the stirring cadence of a solid drum line and is matched only by the rousing music of an entire marching band.
Off in the distance or up close at a field show, what I see and hear always takes me back to my own band days as a proud Red Knight in the Reading High Marching Band.
If you're like me, have I got an event for you!
Lighting up the field for the 44th year on Saturday, Sept. 24, the Sound Panorama-Tournament of Bands, sponsored by the Wilson Music Boosters, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Wilson's John Gurski Stadium, 2601 Grandview Blvd., West Lawn.
Tickets will be available at the gate; $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children.
The evening of music is a field-show competition showcasing seven area high school bands in addition to the Wilson High School's own award-winning marching band.
The performance schedule includes Catasauqua, Northwestern Lehigh, Schuylkill Haven, Whitehall, North Schuylkill and Donegal and of course, the Reading High School Band!
Trophies would be awarded for first and second place in each category. In addition, a sinfully tasty variety of concessions will be available for late dinner and snacks including pizza, popcorn, Sammy's french fries, Mr. Softee, baked goods, and lots of drinks.
Each year, dozens of volunteers take care of about a zillion details to assure guests a good event.
Jim Thompson, chairman of the event, isn't sure how many years he's headed the event but knows he got first got involved in the planning about 2002.
With all the details to tend to, Thompson says the biggest challenge is dealing with the uncertainly of the weather.
It could make or break the entire show and could cost important proceeds, which help the whole Wilson School District music program.
But year after year, Thompson says, "It's all worthwhile because of the students' appreciation and the Boosters' efforts."
Field-show competitions also call for additional preparation for participating bands.
"We have to make sure that all elements of the show are at a level of excellence that corresponds to the show's place in the competitive season," explained David Cooper, Wilson High School band director.
What makes it all worthwhile to Cooper is that the "kids are very proud to host a show in our excellent stadium.
"They like seeing all of the activity in preparation for the event, the arrival of the judges, and the visiting bands. They enjoy performing last in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. It is always a memorable night for the students, especially the seniors."
Wilson Music Boosters President Keith Roberts added that although the Wilson band performs at football games, "the real heart of all their work is to show their talents at adjudicated field-show competitions."
"Just as any sports team wants to have home-field advantage, the students in our marching band want that home-field advantage in a field-show competition," he said.
"Our students can display their talent and hard work to friends, family, community and band enthusiasts that may not travel to an away competition site."
The Wilson Music Boosters is a not-for-profit organization made up of parent volunteers whose purpose is to support and benefit the instrumental and vocal music students in the Wilson School District.
"Sound Panorama is the first of our four major events the boosters host throughout the year." Roberts said.
"Proceeds from the four events are used to support all of the music programs in the Wilson School District throughout the year. Boosters provide food and drink for students and staff, equipment, props, insurance, consulting fees for staff and supplies not covered under the district budget."
The Wilson Music Boosters invite all of you to come out for an evening of family fun at the Sound Panorama!
For more information about Sound Panorama or other Wilson Music Boosters events, please visit www.wilsonmusicboosters.org.
(Among many roles, Elaine McDevitt is the mother of a Wilson High School student.)