Award Winners
GH Marching Band Invitational

Grand Haven Marching Band Invitational

Each year the Grand Haven Marching Band Invitational draws some of the most talented high school marching bands in West Michigan. The Grand Haven Invitational began in 2007 with the opening of Grand Haven High School's new Buccaneer Stadium, and is held annually in the state-of-the-art facility. Buccaneer Stadium’s Gene Rothi Field boasts a new generation synthetic turf which provides competing bands with the optimal field experience, and makes the Grand Haven Invitational one of the top competitive venues.


There are several different judging systems for marching band, depending on the type of competition. The class portion of the Grand Haven Marching Band Invitational utilizes the Michigan Scholastic Marching Band Contest (MSMBC) judging system. With the MSMBC judging system, scoring is weighted more toward music, and less emphasis is placed on visual presentation. A total of six judges are employed; one judge for each category or “caption.”

Judging is a complicated and complex process. The people employed as judges are experienced and sophisticated in their profession. The goal of each judge is to assure uniformity, objectivity, and consistency in the evaluation of each band’s performance.  

Performance and Scoring

Bands are given 15 minutes from the time they take the field to complete their optional on-field warm-up, and to complete their show. In each case the show will begin with: “Drum Major; is your band ready for competition?” Exhibition Performance: As the host band, the Grand Haven Buccaneer Marching Band will perform at the end of the competition, but will not be scored or qualify for award consideration. Occasionally other bands may elect to perform as an exhibition participant to gain invitational experience but not to compete.

Bands are divided into Classes based on their school enrollment. The Classes are D, C, B. A, and AA, and sometimes a Class BB is added if necessary. Bands are judged in six categories: Music Performance (30 pts), Music Effect (30 pts), Marching Performance (20 pts), Visual Effect (20 pts), Percussion (10 pts), and Color Guard (10 pts). Points earned for Percussion and Color Guard are not included in the final band placement score. Each band has an opportunity to earn a maximum final score of 100 points. Scoring for the captions will be tabulated on a buildup basis, meaning that points will be added for the band’s worth, content and effect of its program, and performance execution. The judges attempt to give constructive comments that will help the band improve their show.  


Caption awards are given for Excellence in Marching Performance, Music Performance/Execution, Color Guard, and Percussion. It is possible for several bands to win one or all of these awards without placing first in their Class. Place awards are given in each Class based on each band’s final accumulated placement score. In addition, the band with the highest band placement score for the Invitational, regardless of Class, earns the award of Grand Champion.


Tickets may be purchased at the gate.

DVD of Performance

You may purchase a DVD video recording of your band’s performance. Order forms will be available at the Invitational.


Concessions will be open at the south end of the field during the performance. The menu includes: Pizza, Warm Pretzels, Nachos, Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Assorted Candy, Fountain Coke Products (24oz), Bottled Coke Products (20oz), Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Powerade, and Bottled Water.

Inclement Weather

Please check our home page for any last minute changes/announcements.