Strike up the Bands

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Education, Events, Online Exclusives

Topsail High School’s Pirate Classic Competition will host 22 North Carolina marching bands on October 21.

If you love band music, nothing beats the drum more loudly than 22 hard-working, high-stepping high school bands at the annual Pirate Classic held October 21 at Topsail High School. Attendees also will be treated to performances by the 2nd Division Marine Band from Camp Lejeune.

“It is a bigger competition this year,” says Jake Wentzek, Topsail High School director of bands. “It’s our 11th annual event, and we have provided a good experience to those who have attended for many years. We are drawing bands from Wake County, Johnston County and Moore County this year.”

Judging follows specific criteria of the state governing board for bands. Each band performs once. Judging is based on that performance in a category, called a caption. The captions include Drum Major, Color Guard, Percussion, Visual Ensemble, Music Effect, Music Performance, Visual Performance, General Effect and Visual Effects. Bands take this critique and listen to it as a group, Wentzek says, then select parts of their show to work on and continue to improve throughout the month of October. Last year’s winner was Northside High School from Jacksonville.

Topsail High School Band

Come hungry to the competition as the event is the largest fundraiser for the band. The boosters will offer hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza in their concession area, and there will be fresh, hot funnel cakes for sale. Vendor partners will also be selling fresh-squeezed lemonade, Italian ice, pretzels and kettle corn.

A selection of band and Pirate Classic-themed shirts/hoodies and buttons will be for sale, and there will be a 50/50 raffle and a People’s Choice award.

“The students love playing on our Drum-o-meter to see who can get the most strokes in under a minute,” Olivia Morris says. “They also love spinning the wheel to win a fun prize!”

The Pirate Classic is open to the public.

“The band boosters always welcome donations (monetary or used instruments) and sponsorships from businesses,” Morris adds. “I would encourage everyone to check out the Boosters Facebook and Instagram accounts for upcoming fundraisers, which include dinner nights at local restaurants and upcoming concerts for the band.”

Topsail High Schools upcoming concerts include:
– A Halloween-themed Fall Concert on October 30 with Topsail Middle School and Surf City Middle School 8th grade band joining at Topsail High School Auditorium at 6 pm
– A Winter Concert with favorite holiday tunes at Topsail High School Auditorium on December 12 at 6 pm.
“We are traveling back to Disney this year to participate in the prestigious instrumental recording soundtrack sessions,” Wentzek adds. “Students will experience what it is like to be a recording professional ensemble with composers conducting them. This will be during Spring Break 2024.”

Want to go?
Pirate Classic Competition
Saturday, October 21
Topsail High School, 245 N. Saint Johns Church Road, Hampstead
Gates open 12:30 pm
Admission: $12
Instagram @ths_music_boosters

About the author

Kate Carey

Kate Carey

A former Ohioan and Buckeyes football fan, Kate M Carey has her toes firmly placed in the sands of Topsail Island. Kate writes fiction about people and the strange things they do for love and essays on the politics of everyday life. Her work has appeared in Noctua, Indiana Voice, The Tishman Review, Panoply, Camel City Digest, Savannah Writers Anthology, and County Line Journal. A guest columnist for Women AdvaNCe, she and her husband, an Episcopal priest, moved to North Carolina in 2015 and have adult children living in Ohio and Florida.