The Mid-American Competing Band Directors Association (MACBDA), founded in 1972, is one of the few remaining summer marching band competition circuits in America. The association includes 5 member bands and consists of two classes of bands, with a range of 20 members to 120 members. The MACBDA competition season begins in mid June and includes 15 events across Illinois, Wisconsin, and in Traverse City, Michigan, for the Cherryland Band Classic during Traverse City's annual National Cherry Festival. The 2016 finals was in Whitewater at Perkins stadium.
MACBDA was founded in 1972 by a group of Midwest high school band directors who wanted a summer competition circuit, similar to what drum corps were doing at the time. A summer season was preferable to the usual fall high school marching band season, as temperatures in the upper midwest were too cold for marching band. It also kept students practicing and playing their instruments over the summer school break. In its prime during the 70s and 80s, up to 30 member bands competed for 6-8 weeks in shows across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. Prior to 1991, bands competed in concert band, street parade, and field show; often doing all three events on the same day. An overall champion was decided on combined scores from all three events. Today, only 5 bands are left, with competition in field show only; although some contests may have a separate parade event.
Bands are sponsored by a school, school district, or city, and can take members from multiple schools in their area. All band members must have been in high school (or middle school) in the school year that just ended prior to the summer. This makes it possible for students who have just graduated to compete the summer after graduation. Bands are divided into classes based on total band membership, and enrollment in the school(s) that sponsor them. Currently the two classes are Open (the largest), and A, for smaller schools. In past years, there was a third class, AA, for intermediate sized bands, larger than A but not advanced enough for Open class.
Most bands start rehearsing their music in the winter prior to the season. Spring training sessions start as soon as the weather is warm enough, where the bands review basic marching skills and start to learn the field show. Some bands may host a mini-camp during spring break. Band camp is typically as soon as school is over in early June, lasting from 3-7 days depending on the band.
Competitions take place from mid-June until mid-July, culminating in the finals the second or third weekend in July. The circuit championships move on a three-year-rotation from Canada, to Traverse City, MI, to the Southern Wisconsin / Northern Illinois area. During competition season, bands may play 2-4 shows a week, with rehearsals on non-show days.
The president of MACBDA is Ian Melrose, of the Sound of Sun Prairie. The vice-president of MACBDA is Rex Rakuvina, of the Lighthouse Brigade of Racine. The treasurer is Mark Davison, of the Sound of Sun Prairie.
- Calgary Stampede Show Band, Calgary, AB
- Lighthouse Brigade, Racine, WI
- Lutheran Vanguard, Appleton, WI
- Sound of Sun Prairie, Sun Prairie, WI
- Green Beret, Janesville, WI
Prior to 1991, the MACBDA Champion was based on an overall score of concert band, street parade, and field show
|Year||Open Class||Class AA||Class A|
|1990||Sound of Sun Prairie, Sun Prairie, WI||Oregon High School, Oregon, WI||Dakota Marching Indians, Dakota, IL|
|1989||Band of the Black Watch, Kenosha, WI||Oregon High School, Oregon, WI||Newman Pride, Newman, IL|
|1988||Band of the Black Watch, Kenosha, WI|
|1987||Sound of Sun Prairie, Sun Prairie, WI|
|1986||Band of the Black Watch, Kenosha, WI||R Troop, Romeoville, IL|
|1985||Band of the Black Watch, Kenosha, WI||R Troop, Romeoville, IL|
|1984||The Lake Band, Milwaukee, WI|
|1983||Band of the Black Watch, Kenosha, WI|
|1982||Crystal Lake Heraldry Guard, Crystal Lake, IL|
|1981||Dundee Scots, Dundee, IL|
|1980||Dundee Scots, Dundee, IL|
|1979||Crystal Lake Heraldry Guard, Crystal Lake, IL|
- MACBDA at Marching.com
- Cherryland Band Classic