Chicagoland Marching Band Festival celebrates 50 years with special guest performance

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© Photo provided by Jeff Fister

Eighteen schools from the Chicagoland area performed at the 50th annual Chicagoland Marching Band Festival on September 23 at Wheeling High School. The festival is the longest running band festival in all of Chicago. 

All 18 competing bands marched in three different classes throughout the afternoon, with Wheeling High School playing last, the honor of any hosting school. The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Blugold Marching Band was the competition’s featured guest performer.

The Prospect Marching Knights of Prospect High School captured the Grand Champion Award, which is given to the top overall marching band at the festival. The Marching Knights also took first place in Class 3A and earned caption awards for Outstanding Percussion, Outstanding Auxiliary, Outstanding General Effect, and Outstanding Music.

In Class 2A, the Marching Grenadiers of Elk Grove High School captured third place and the Marching Mustangs of Rolling Meadows High School earned fourth place.

The head of the Wheeling Marching Band Program, Michael Malek, who hosted and ran the premier Chicagoland festival, was very pleased with the effort and results for all District 214 bands. 

“This was a special 50th anniversary of the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival,” Malek said. “Each of the District 214 bands that performed had great success, and it was an amazing educational experience that was also an amazing fundraiser for Wheeling band.” 

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