Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, welcomed more than 20 marching bands from around the area at its annual Jamboree on September 9. (Supplied photos)

Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, welcomed more than 20 marching bands from around the area at its annual Jamboree on September 9. (Supplied photos)

Marching bands flock to Stagg High School’s annual Jamboree 

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By Kelly White 

It was over at Stagg High School this past weekend. 

The high school, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, welcomed more than 20 marching bands from around the area at its annual Jamboree on September 9.  

“What I love most about the Jamboree is that it brings so many different people from many different schools together that share the same love of music,” Grant Gaskill, 16, of Palos Hills, said. “I’ve met some great life-long friends from other schools just because of the Jamboree. To me, it doesn’t feel like a competition against each other because we are all admiring each other and we are all part of the same big family. We all support each other and that’s the best feeling.”  

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Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St, Palos Hills, welcomed more than 20 marching bands from around the area at its annual Jamboree on September 9.

The Jamboree that began with the National Anthem performed by area middle schoolers from Palos South and Conrady Middle School, was a competition that brings marching bands from all over the area together to perform their competitive shows for a distinguished panel of adjudicators, receiving their feedback and rankings by class. This feedback allowed the bands to reflect and grow before the next competition of the season.  

This year marked the 43rd annual event, courtesy of Stagg Music Boosters Association, who helped to organize the event along with Stagg’s band director, Bob Mecozzi. Among the boosters, a volunteer Jamboree coordinator and a Jamboree committee also came together to plan the details. Contributing, as well, was Stagg’s Assistant Principal, Dr. Mary Pat Carr, who worked as a liaison and handled communication with various staff members and departments. 

On top of that, there were many gracious parent volunteers, among the 3,500 people in attendance that afternoon. 

“Stagg has only been able to provide this amazing event to our band community for 43 years through the help of our long legacy of dedicated parent volunteers,” Lisa Banos-Cruz, Jamboree Coordinator and Music Booster Vice-President at Stagg High School, said. 

There were approximately 160 adult volunteer slots throughout the day.  

“That goes to show exactly how much we, as parents, believe in this activity as a positive and productive experience for our kids,” Banos-Cruz said. “They grow socially, emotionally, musically, and become amazing leaders in the process. There is nothing better than marching band. I love the camaraderie that encircles the marching band community. We are all there to support this activity that our kids put their hearts and souls into.”  

Marching band, which includes a color guard, provides a unique opportunity for students to form relationships while showcasing their musical and physical talents, Banos-Cruz said. 

“Performing in this event is an extraordinary experience for our students,” Banos-Cruz said. “Performing for a large crowd that is there just to see the marching bands is a unique opportunity. Additionally, students are critiqued by esteemed adjudicators from area music organizations that provide them with important feedback to grow as a musician, as an ensemble and as a team.” 

This marked the Music Boosters’ biggest fundraiser of the year, which benefited all of the Stagg music programs: band, choir and color guard. 

Admission was set at $15 for adults; $10 for students with valid school ID and senior citizens 50 and older; and $5 for children 6 to 17 years old. Admission was free to children 6 and younger and Stagg students with school ID. 

“What I like most about the Jamboree is the multitude of bands that attend. Watching the different visual aspects, hearing the wide range of sounds,” Salvador Cruz, 17, of Palos Heights, said. “It reminds us why we do this activity in the first place: to bring each other together through our love of music.”   

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Fans watch the marching bands perform at Stagg High School’s annual Jamboree on September 9.

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