HANNIBAL — The Hannibal Pirate Pride Marching Band has been preparing since July for a yearly tradition that will bring 30 bands to America's Hometown on Tuesday.
Debbie Higbee-Roberts, department chair with the Hannibal Pirate Pride Marching Band, said musicians and members of the growing color guard have been putting in extra effort through early morning and Thursday rehearsals along with working on visuals through their marching with Assistant Band Director Jeff Duffy. The band's competition schedule started about a month early, and they are heading to their third competition today. As 30 area bands of all sizes prepare to march down Broadway at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, Pirate Pride Marching Band Boosters, members and other volunteers have been busy preparing for the 71-year tradition.
“The kids are working hard, they're having fun doing it — that's the biggest piece of the puzzle, really,” Higbee-Roberts said. “I've taught this from sixth grade on — input equals output, and what you put into it is exactly what you're going to get out of it.”
Eighth grade students from Hannibal Middle School will join their peers in the parade, which Higbee-Roberts said helps alleviate band members' fears about making the transition to marching band during their freshman year. Throughout the day, members of each band will be supporting one another and making new friends along the way.
Thirty bands will march down Broadway, and the 6 p.m. field show exhibition at Hannibal High School's Porter Stadium will feature 12 parade bands, a performance of the National Anthem by the Hallsville Indian Pride Marching Band and 12 bands performing field shows.
For some bands, the event is the only opportunity to perform outside of their halftime shows. Band Day is a favorite for members of the Hannibal Pirate Pride Marching Band members — Higbee-Roberts said the band members enjoy the chance to be serve as the host band, leading off the parade and concluding the evening field show performances.
“It's basically performing for each other — for music's sake — for the good of the group and the good of the cause,” Higbee-Roberts said.
Higbee-Roberts grew up looking forward to Band Day each year, and she's excited to be coordinating a tradition that's special to her and everyone involved. She said the traditional exhibition format takes away the pressure of a competition setting.
“Everyone's here for the music and the marching — and the camaraderie, basically the band kids united,” Higbee-Roberts said.
More information about Hannibal Band Day is available by visiting the Hannibal Pirate Pride Bands public group on Facebook.