Jubilee Parade and Battle of the Bands light up festivalPublished 7:14pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
Three-year- old Markell Jemison popped his head out of the sunroof of his mother’s car and stared on and waved as marching bands and local organizations paraded by on Saturday.
Jemison most likely had one of the warmest seats inside of a car on Broad Street to watch Saturday’s Jubilee Parade as temperatures dropped down into the 30’s and Selma saw snow flurries intense enough to be considered a Selma-style snow storm, though the flurries only lasted an hour or so. And as Jemison watched the parade, his mother Ashley Hooks, said it is a family tradition.
“I live in Montgomery now, but I am from Selma so I went to Jubilee when I was just a little girl,” Hooks said.
And while many Selma natives lined the streets to cheer on their local schools, out-of-towners arrived just the same, bearing the cold and clinging to cups of hot chocolate.
“In total we brought 17 students from two high schools,” Darryl Miles said, who was one of the teachers who brought a group of students from Portland, Ore. to learn about civil rights to enhance things they were learning in the classroom. “I felt that anytime you are talking about historical events you get a stronger sense of the situation and the event if you can experience it yourself, so I wanted to bring them here.”
And as bands marched down Broad Street their performance did not just end there. As in all famous showdowns, Selma High School challenged two other schools to a Battle of the Bands, in a parking lot. The crowd closed in the circle for the duel around Selma High, the Greene County High School marching band and the Chattahoochee Valley All-star Band from Columbus, Ga.
“Well the Battle of the Bands brings in the youth aspect because we invite local area high schools as well as high schools from around the region and we invite them to bring the kids in so that we can expose them to what is going on here,” parade and Battle of the Bands organizer William Tyrus Bryant III said.
People of all ages as well many youth came by the hundreds to watch the three high schools compete for three rounds, which gave Greene County third place but resulted in a tie for first.
“So this is what we will do now,” Joseph Webb said, who was a judge for the Battle of the Bands and director of the Concordia College Marching Hornets. “We are going to have a face-off between Selma High School and CVAB with just the drumlines,” he shouted to the crowd.
The two teams in the parking lot stared each other down as they competed rhythmically, the drum majors keeping the beat with their sways, steps and dance moves.
Ultimately Selma High School took first place, but Battle of the Bands judge, Collins Pettaway III, said the placement was based purely on musicianship.
“When you are judging bands you look for musicianship first and when we say musicianship — how do they sound, are they in tune, how do they articulate, is there a balance in the sound,” Pettaway said.
And Webb added that, “you have to have excitement, and CVAB did beat [Selma High] on excitement, however Selma High, they were the better sounding band.”
The judges said if the competition were based on excitement CVAB would have won, but at the end of the day it was about the sound and musicianship in which Selma High, “had a steep edge.”