About 350 high school band members competed in the sixth-annual Best of the West Invitational Field Show on Saturday at Douglas High School.
Bands from seven schools marched onto Keith Roman Field with full brass, woodwind and percussion sections and flags twirling almost in unison.
"This band contest has improved in leaps and bounds over the years," said Mitch Jones, a band contest judge for 30 years. "The quality of the bands has gone up quite a bit."
The Douglas High School Band hosts the event and does not compete.
"We just do an exhibition," said band director Bill Zabelsky.
The crowd applauded madly during their performance. Slide trombone players marched backward fast in tall, fur hats while playing tunes from "West Side Story." They merged with the rest of the band without incident and all 81 students marched forward, music booming, to the enthusiastic encouragement of their drum major, Adam Holland.
"Douglas is one of the best -- they're a heck of a band," said Manuel Aguilar. He was out supporting his granddaughter, Douglas flag team captain Marlena Aguilar.
"Carson was good, too -- very good," he said.
Carson musicians said they felt good about how things went.
"We had a pretty good performance," said mellophone player Jon Holloway. "Collectively as a band we did well."
The judges thought Carson did well, too, but not quite well enough to beat Galena. The Grizzlies' performance of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" pushed them ahead of the Senators by .56 points. Galena took first with 91.84, Carson secured second with 91.28, Reed was in third at 89.69 while North Valleys took fourth with 88.1 points.
The funds raised by the Best of the West band competition go to the Douglas High School Music Department. The event is organized by the school's music boosters club.
"It's a great chance for all the bands to get a trophy," said the club's president, Diana Altemara. "Every band walks out of here with a trophy, so that's nice," she said. She pointed to the 4-foot tall, orange, black and gold trophies on a table in the sun.
They are donated by event sponsor Carpenter's Music World in Reno.