Northwest Association for Performing Arts

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NWAPA Logo (2011).png

The Northwest Association for Performing Arts, or NWAPA, is an association of Pacific Northwest high school marching bands, color guards and percussion ensembles founded in 1997. Organized as Northwest Marching Band Circuit (NWMBC), NWAPA continues to develop additional competitive performance opportunities for scholastic, collegiate and independent ensembles including a winter guard and indoor percussion event series.

Mission Statement[edit]

The organization has established the longest running regional championships for marching band, color guard and percussion ensembles as well as develop a community of independent music and visual adjudicators.[1]

NWAPA was established for the purpose of the "providing a circuit of standardized shows for scholastic marching bands, winter guard and winter percussion units that will provide educational input via quality adjudication.[2] " And to "facilitate standard assessment of performances though positive and constructive judging for the purpose of improvement of students, directors, and staff." Though membership has decreased since 2006, NWAPA continues to "encourage growth of membership in the conference and never exclude any high school unit from participation" and "to build and maintain an organization of band directors that believe that it is first and foremost their duty to educate young people to strive for excellence."


NWAPA is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of the six elected officers elected for two-year terms, President, Vice President - Fall, Vice President - Spring, Secretary, Treasurer and Past President. Officers are elected to two-year terms each February. The President and Secretary are elected in even-number years, while the Vice Presidents and Treasurer elected in odd-numbered years. All band directors and show sponsors that are in good standing are eligible to hold elected office.

Four general membership meetings are held per year with each member in good standing having one vote. Show sponsors are only eligible to vote if they are elected officers. Voting may be cast by voice, written ballot, or by email at the discretion of the President.

Members & Participants[edit]

The NWAPA draws participants from various states across the Pacific Northwest, however the majority of active members are from the Portland, Salem, Spokane and Seattle-Tacoma metro areas.[3] The following units/high schools are members as of Fall 2012 including each member's marching band, color guard and percussion ensemble competitive classifications.[4]

Unit Name State Band Percussion Color Guard
Aloha Warrior Marching Band OR Exh - -
Astoria Marching Band OR A PSA -
Beaverton High School Marching Ensemble OR AA PSA SAA
Canby Cougar Marching Band OR A PSA -
Cascade Sound WA Open - -
Central Valley High School Marching Band WA Open - -
Century Marching Band and Colorguard OR Open PSA, Cadet SO, Cadet
Del Norte High School Marching Band CA A - -
Evergreen Marching Band WA Open PSO SO
Glencoe Marching Tide OR AA PSA SA
Grants Pass High School Marching Band and Auxiliary OR Open - -
Hilhi Spartan Marching Band and Auxiliary OR A - Cadet
Kamiak Show Band WA Open PSO -
Kelso High School Marching Band and Colorguard WA A - -
Liberty High School Marching Band and Colorguard OR A PSA -
McKay Marching Band and Color Guard OR A - -
Mountain View High School Marching Band & Auxiliary OR AA - -
North Salem High School Viking Marching Band OR AA - -
Oregon City Pioneer Marching Band OR AA - -
Phoenix High School Marching Band OR AA - -
Roseburg Marching Ensemble OR AA - -
Sheldon Marching Band OR A PSA -
Sherwood Marching Bowmen OR AA PSA SAA
Skyview High School Marching Band WA AA PSO SO
Southridge Marching Ensemble OR Open PSO, Cadet SO
Spirit of Silverdale OR Exh - -
Sprague Olympian Marching Band OR A - SAA
St. Helens High School Marching Band and Color Guard OR A - -
Sunset Apollo Marching Band and Auxiliary OR AA PSO -
Tigard High Marching Ensemble OR A PSA, Cadet SA
Timberline High School Wolf Pack Marching Band OR A - -
Marching Thunderbirds WA A - -
West Salem Marching Band OR Open PSO, Cadet Cadet, SRA
Westview Wildcat Marching Band and Colorguard OR AA PSO SA
Lincoln high School OR - PSA -
Oregon Crusaders Indoor OR - PIW -
Rhapsody Winterguard WA - IW -
Summit Winterguard WA - IA -

Previous Participants[edit]

The following schools are previous members of NWAPA (NWMBC)[5] or have participated in officiated events since 2006[citation needed]

Unit Name State Year
Black Hills High School WA 2008
Brea Olinda High School CA 2011
Centennial High School ID 2011
Cheney High School WA 2011
Clarkston High School WA 2007
Columbia River High School WA 2008
Crater High School OR 2012
Del Norte High School CA 2011
Eagle Point High School OR 2008
Eisenhower High School WA 2007
Ferndale High School WA 2010
Forest Grove High School OR 2008
Hanford High School WA 2010
Hermiston High School OR 2011
Hockinson High School WA 2008
McNary High School OR 2008
Mead High School WA 2010
Mt. Spokane High School WA 2008
Mountain View High School ID 2010
Nampa High School ID 2011
Newport High School OR 2006
North Thurston High School WA 2006
Pasco High School WA 2006
South Salem High School OR 2010
Skyview High School ID 2006
Thurston High School OR 2011
Willamette High School OR 2012
North by Northwest Color Guard WA 2010
Northern Lights Winter Guard OR 2006

Marching Band[edit]

The primary competitive season for most NWAPA members is Marching Band. Greater than 5,000 students and more than 20,000 spectators will attend NWAPA events from September to November. The most popular events are those whose history predate the founding of the circuit. These include: Pacific Coast Invitational, Sunset Classic, and University of Oregon Festival of Bands. The competitive season ends with the NWAPA Marching Band Championships the last Saturday of October or first Saturday of November.


Marching band classifications are based on the number of marching members within each ensemble, including percussion and auxiliary/color guard. A fourth competitive class is available for those bands who wish to compete regardless of band size.[6] Each year minor adjustments are voted on by members to keep the number of competing bands among the size-based classes roughly even.

Class Band Size
A Smaller 50% (73 or less)
AA Larger 50% (74 or more)
Open No limit

Revised in 2012, the AAA class was removed from classification to balance the band competition to similar sized bands. This was done because many of the bands who would have been classified as AAA elected to compete in Open class, leaving very few in the AAA class. Prior to 2009, Novice class was available to marching bands with no previous competitive experience. An Exhibition or festival class is available to visiting bands who wish to take advantage of performance opportunities at circuit events which include comments from adjudicators. A score is given but this is not announced during awards. Many bands who host circuit events make use of Exhibition class.


Each event is scheduled by a bidding process which begins several months before the start of the competitive season. Considerations for awarding an event include available personnel, host experience and facilities. All events are operated financially independent of the circuit, and each event host is responsible for accommodating the visiting bands, spectators and adjudicator travel needs. Each host is required to pay a fee to the circuit if they are awarded an event. The host for the annual Marching Band Championships is chosen based on the largest available facility and rotates among several sites.

The circuit's responsibilities at sanctioned events are to manage the flow of bands in competition, be available for any administrative needs, and to provide adjudication and tabulation.

Annual Events[edit]

The following annual events were officiated by NWAPA as of 2011:

Past Events[edit]

Other events previously officiated by NWAPA (NWMBC):

Championship Sites[edit]

NWAPA Marching Band Championships sites:

General Event Flow[edit]

NWAPA events consist of two rounds - preliminary and final. In Preliminary competition, bands compete based on class with awards given for rank and captions. Bands selected for the final round compete in Open class.

Preliminary Round[edit]

Beginning with the 2010 competitive season, the performance order for each class is set by random draw. Event C may have a performance order of classes as Open, A, AAA, AA while Event D may have the classes arranged as AA, Open, AAA, A. Once the order of classes is determined each participating band's performance time is assigned by a second random draw.

Each event host sets a maximum number of bands who will advance to the final round. Typically this limit is between 12 and 15 bands and preliminary round results are used to select which bands will advance. The highest scoring band in each class automatically advances as well as the next-highest scoring bands regardless of class up to the maximum number of bands allowed at each event. Considerations for the maximum number of bands in the final round are based on facility availability and travel considerations for the participating bands.

Final Round[edit]

Advancing bands are placed into groups of four, five or six based on their preliminary round total called neighborhoods. The performance time for each band is the result of a random draw within each neighborhood. The size of each neighborhood is based on the number of competing bands who are advancing to the final round.


NWMBC adopted the single-tier version of the Western Band Association (Formerly WSMBC) Adjudication Handbook when it was founded, however in 2011 the circuit adopted a modified form of the Bands of America Adjudication Handbook.[7] Scoring at NWAPA events is based on three broad captions: General Effect, Music and Visual. The broad captions are further divided into six reference criteria or sub-captions[8] with each sub-caption given a maximum value of 200 points. The final score is tabulated by adding all sub-captions, less any penalties. The remaining points are then divided by 10.

The circuit assigns one adjudicator to each of the sub-captions and one adjudicator responsible for timing and penalties, requiring a personnel of seven at each event. The sub-captions and their maximum value are:[9]

Caption Sub-Caption Sub-Caption Points
Effect Music Effect (200) + Visual Effect (200) 400 Points
Music Individual Music (200) / 2 + Ensemble Music (200) 300 Points
Visual Individual Visual (200) / 2 + Ensemble Visual (200) 300 Points
Sub-Total 1000 Points
Penalties (0) Points
Total 100.0 Points

There is no tie-break procedure. If there are any ties for caption or placement awards then duplicate awards are given.


For each round of competition, three caption awards and three placement awards are given. Caption awards for High Effect, High Music and High Visual are determined by adding the scores for each sub-caption, an example being the sum of Individual Music and Ensemble Music determines High Music. Awards are also given for the three highest scoring bands in each class. Scores are announced during each round.

The Class Champion and Grand Champion are awarded during the annual Marching Band Championship. The title holders are determined based on scores from the final round.

Past Champions[edit]

Following is an incomplete list of class and overall champions.

Year A AA AAA Open
2004 Sprague
2005 Hockinson
2006 Hockinson
2007 Hockinson Southridge
2008 Sunset West Salem Southridge
2009 Sprague West Salem South Salem Southridge
2010 Tigard Sunset Central Valley Grants Pass
2011 Beaverton Sunset Cascade Central Valley
2012 Tigard Skyview - West Salem
2013 Tigard Skyview - West Salem
2014 Tigard Sherwood - West Salem
2015 Tigard Sunset - West Salem
2016 Tigard Westview - West Salem

Color Guard & Percussion[edit]

Winter color guard and percussion ensemble classes are based on criteria published by Winter Guard International (WGI). WGI uses a multi-tier adjudication handbook which separates competing units into classes based on experience and achievement. These classes are Regional, National or A, Open and World. NWAPA has modified the WGI system to include an additional regional class, Cadet, for young units as well as establishing an additional national class for developing color guards.

Percussion Ensemble criteria and classes are unchanged.

WGI Class Color Guard Marching Percussion Concert Percussion
Cadet - -
Regional A SRA - -
SAA - -

Independent units, or units not associated with any school or school district, have the following classes available:

WGI Class Color Guard Marching Percussion
Regional A IRA -
A IA -
World IW PIW


  1. ^ "NWAPA About". Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "NWAPA Constitution and Bylaws" (PDF). NWAPA. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "School Units". NWAPA. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "NWAPA members". Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Members". NWMBC. Retrieved 4 April 2008. 
  6. ^ "NWAPA T&P Judge Sheet" (PDF). NWAPA T&P Judge Sheet. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Bands of America Official Procedures and Adjudication Handbook" (PDF). Music for All. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "New Adjudication Sheets Released". NWAPA. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "NWAPA adjudication". Retrieved 1 October 2012. 

External links[edit]