Education

Statewide band competition set in Merced

Members of the Golden Valley High School color guard toss flags into the air while performing with the marching band on East Childs Avenue during last year’s annual Central California Band Review at Golden Valley High School in Merced.
Members of the Golden Valley High School color guard toss flags into the air while performing with the marching band on East Childs Avenue during last year’s annual Central California Band Review at Golden Valley High School in Merced. akuhn@mercedsunstar.com

The 56th annual Central California Band Review set for Saturday has grown since last year, according to organizers.

The annual tradition is set to have 44 bands compete from around the state, a handful more than last year, according to Mike Vasquez Jr., the director of bands for Golden Valley High School.

“The Central California Band Review is the second-longest-running band review in California’s history,” he said last week, noting that a band review in Southern California is about five years older.

There are several competitions throughout the day. It all kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday on the streets surrounding Golden Valley High School, 2121 E. Childs Ave.

The Central California Band Review is the second-longest-running band review in California’s history

Mike Vasquez Jr., director of bands for Golden Valley High School

The musical competitions range from marching and jazz bands to color guard, field and drumline routines.

While the jazz performances take place indoors and the field show happens in the school’s stadium, the marching and drumline shows take place in the streets around the school. So, portions of Parsons Avenue, Dinkey Creek Avenue, Watertown Drive and East Childs Avenue will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that day.

The review began as an annual Veterans Day parade – first held Nov. 11, 1960 – and over time became the competition it is today. That first year saw 11 bands, according to organizers.

It’s known to draw between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors, organizers said. Bands travel from as far as Bakersfield and the Bay Area.

The review is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cardinal Regime Band Boosters, which generate funds for the Golden Valley High School band. Those dollars help cover the cost of uniforms, instruments and travel, among other expenses.

Know and go

Central California Band Review; admission is free.

  • When: 7 a.m. Saturday
  • Where: Golden Valley High School, 2121 E. Childs Ave.
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