MFA expands regional finals to 12 bands

Feb. 26, 2020 at 1:25 p.m. CT

MFA expands regional finals to 12 bands

By Jeremiah Wooten

All Bands of America regional championships will advance 12 bands to finals beginning this fall. That is an increase from the previous cut off of 10 finalists that has been in place since the inception of Bands of America, originally established as Marching Bands of America in 1976. Super regional finals will continue to include 14 bands while national finals will continue to include 12 bands.

Round Rock performs at the Grand National Championships on Nov. 16, 2019. The band missed finals at the 2019 Austin Regional, but would have advanced under a rule change for the 2020 season. // Photo by Jeremiah Wooten.
“As the level of the participating band performances continues to rise, there are more and more outstanding bands in all of the Bands of America Championships,” Music For All COO Jeremy Earnhart wrote in an email to participating band directors. “The increase of finalists to 12 at Regionals will give more bands and student musicians the experience of a Finals performance and a second set of feedback from the adjudication panel.”

Additionally, raising the number of finalists is expected to increase revenue from ticket sales. With two additional bands performing in finals, that's two more sets of parents and grandparents that will likely purchase a finals ticket. And with higher ticket sales, spectators can expect the stands to be a bit more crowded during finals.

Finals performance order will continue to use a top half/bottom half random draw system with the six higher-scoring bands performing in the second half of finals and the six lower-scoring bands performing in the first half of finals. Other procedures relating to finalist selection will remain intact. In the case of a tie for the 12-place band in prelims, the two or more tying bands will advance to finals. Additionally, class champion bands will continue to be invited to perform in finals exhibition immediately preceding or following the finals competition.

With two additional finalist positions, finals competitions will be expanded by 30 minutes, but it's possible this move could lower the number of class champion exhibitions. However, a huge decrease in exhibitions is not expected. If implemented last year, this change would have allowed one class champion each at three different events the opportunity to compete in finals. The majority of additional finals spots, however, would continue to go to AAA and AAAA bands.

One notable group this change would have affected is consistent national finalist Round Rock. The Dragon Band finished 11th, just one spot out of finals, at last year’s Austin Regional. Under this change, Round Rock would have advanced to finals and received both a second performance and additional feedback from adjudicators to prepare for San Antonio and Grand Nationals.