BUCKHANNON – Countries from all over the world, including five continents, have expressed interest in participating in the 2023 World Association of Marching Show Bands Championships that will take place in Buckhannon.
City Recorder Randy Sanders updated the Consolidated Public Works Board Thursday on the progress being made to plan the event.
“We are building a band packet, which is the material that goes out to the bands around the world who are interested in coming in and that should be finished and proofed out within the next few days,” Sanders said. “We have bands interested in participating from the following countries thus far: We have Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Uganda, the USA and Venezuela.”
Sanders said one band from Panama has 452 members interested in participating.
“I want to stress the word interest – they still have to receive the band packet from us, learn more about our schedule, our activities that we’re proposing and so forth,” Sanders said. “They also have to show they’ve been qualified through a WAMSB event of some sort and they received a score of 80 or above, or in certain instances where WAMSB doesn’t have those kinds of competitions, they submit a video to the WAMSB International Committee to make sure they’re of a certain standard to be competitive.”
Sanders said some countries have multiple bands, including Canada, which has six bands interested in participating.
“We want to achieve a couple of things: We don’t want to overdo it; we can’t have a 20-hour preliminary competition, there’s too much of a good thing,” Sanders said. “We also want to have a lot of diversity, and we want to enjoy the different cultures from around the world, so we’re going to be very selective and very careful with the invitations that are sent out.”
Sanders said he is hoping to have the band packet ready soon and it will include key details such as what the bands will be scored on and the regulations.
Sanders said the next phase is to put the necessary infrastructure in place and reach out to civic organizations, such as Create Buckhannon and the Rotary Club of Buckhannon Upshur.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of the organization such as Create Buckhannon and I’m scheduled to speak to Rotary, and I’m going to also be speaking to many other civic organizations,” he said.
Sanders said he has also been working on the hospitality side of things and financial side as well.
“We’ve been working with the hospitality side of things. Laura Meadows (executive director of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau) is going to come in as well as the college – Alisa Lively and John Waltz are working there,” Sanders said. “Callie (Cronin Sams, information coordinator and grant writer for the City of Buckhannon) is working on grant investigations now, working with Amby to set up the accounts, and we do have a couple interested sponsors so far that we should be able to start bringing in, so things are clicking.”
In other Consolidated Public Works Board news, Festival Fridays at Jawbone Park are tentatively set to resume in June. The board approved a request from Create Buckhannon to have Festival Fridays at Jawbone Park from 3 to 9 p.m. June 4 to Aug. 27, 2021.