BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- For over 70 years, the Mighty Viking Band at Tennessee High School has hosted Music in the Castle on its home turf.
The event brings in around 28-34 bands from across the United States each year to compete. It also serves as one of the biggest band competitions in the area.
“It started off as the Southeastern Band festival 71 years ago,” said THS band director David Semones. “It’s kind of morphed over the years, but it’s still one of the biggest band competitions around. And we take a lot of pride in that.”
The competition aims to encourage and celebrate the love of music for all who attend. Semones said that while the event is labeled as a competition, fans and participants choose to encourage everyone, despite who they are there to support.
“The only competition part happens at the awards,” said Semones. “You’ll see other parents from other schools cheering on other bands. It’s just a community of people who love music.”
As hosts of the competition, the Mighty Vikings themselves don’t compete but serve as an exhibition band at the end of the day. Semones said his students have the chance to show off their own hard work without any pressure.
“They have a lot of pride in this competition,” said Semones. “When they go out there and perform, they know that it’s their home and it’s their field.”
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the band. Music in the Castle’s Chair Amy McCracken said the event benefits the THS band program significantly.
“The kids love it,” said McCracken. “And we raise a lot of money for our band program doing this. It’s very successful.”
The competition takes place every year at Stone Castle on the first weekend of October.