Flamboyant outfits, colorful flags and powerful drum lines gave the spectators at Seacrest Field an exciting show Saturday during the Lincoln Public Schools' Marching Band Invitational.
The high school bands' performances take months of daily rehearsal to perfect, which Lincoln Southwest senior Enrique Martinez said requires a major effort of both mind and body.
"It is all about making sure the band is together, mentally and physically," Martinez said.
Large and small schools from all over the state competed, including seven varsity bands from Lincoln high schools.
"Some small bands are really good, and have great sound for their size of band, and we see that and it transfers to our band what we want to do in our next competition," Martinez said.
Kendrick Roach, a 17-year-old junior from Lincoln Southeast who plays the snare drum, said having smaller schools participate enhanced the experience.
"As long as everyone does their own thing confidently and competently, it is a good performance no matter how small or big it is," Roach said. "You get all these different backgrounds performing for a bunch of people, and that is a really cool thing."
Southeast performed a program titled "Trapped in Time," which Roach said was up to the interpretation of the viewer.
"We didn't get a synopsis, but that is because we want people to see the show in their own way," Roach said. "The way I see the show is how people try to run away from time, but you can't do that, so you have to live life to the fullest."
The Southwest program was titled "Worlds Apart" and featured music from Korea, Brazil, Russia and America, among others, to tell a multinational story about finding one's home.
"Our band likes it, because we have different people from all over the world, so, obviously, everyone can connect to something in some part of our show," Martinez said. "It is amazing seeing how some people have more enthusiasm toward one piece of music to others."
Martinez said he wants to continue to be involved in marching band in college.
"I am going to UNL, so I am definitely trying out for their marching band," Martinez said. "As a senior, I'm just enjoying my time with the band and seeing everyone compete. I know its my last year, so I'm just taking it all in right now."
Lance Nielsen, supervisor of music for LPS, said the competition is a great opportunity to showcase bands from all over the state.
"This is a great way for them to have an early competition and get some feedback, and we have eight judges to comment on their shows," Nielsen said.
Four judges are tasked with either visual or musical aspects of the programs, along with two judges who looked at the entire show, a drum line judge and a color guard judge.
"Music is the driving force; these bands have been working probably since the last week of July, and they just work all the way through the fall," Nielsen said. "They just keep building on it. You're learning music, and learning visually where you need to be on the field, then you tie all that together."
Nielsen said the rain this fall has complicated matters for the bands, but he believes they've risen to the challenge.
"There's been some really great things today; it's also great to see all the creativity," Nielsen said. "They're trying to tell a story through their music."
Southwest and Southeast received "I-Superior" scores, the highest possible in the competition.
Southeast also received recognition for outstanding percussion, with the color guard award going to Waverly High School.