BUCKHANNON – One of the biggest international entertainment events the state has ever hosted will take place in our area next summer when the 2023 World Marching Band Association World Championships come to Buckhannon.
Even though the event, to be held at Cebe Ross Field on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College, is 10 months away, competition officials have been working hard to prepare.
“We actually found out that we were going to be hosting this event in January 2021, so we’ve been working hard to put everything in place since then,” Randy Sanders, chair of the WAMSB 2023 organizing committee, told The Inter-Mountain. “It was a good thing to start so early because it allowed us to build infrastructure slowly and start raising funds. But we’re really hitting our stride now and things are going really well.
Sanders said the committee has partnered with several entities throughout the region for support, including the Randolph County Commission, which provided $7,500 for the event. A total of $150,000 was raised for the event.
“We would like to once again thank Randolph County Commissioners Chris See, David Kesling and Cris Siler for their support,” Sanders said. “We would also like to thank the Harrison County Commission, Dutch Miller Auto Group, Jenkins Ford, We-R-Farmers, Mike Ross, Ike Morris and Create Buckhannon, the National Endowment of the Arts and, of course, the city. of Buckhannon for all their financial support.
The World Championship competition will feature groups from around the world, including several from across the United States and West Virginia. There are currently 68 groups from 27 countries registered for the event.
In October, the committee will organize a virtual contest organized in collaboration with the organization WAMSB International. The purpose of the competition is to obtain an updated ranking of bands after the two-year hiatus in competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow more groups to advance in their quest for next year’s event.
Angola, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam are among the countries that have registered for the event.
In May, the committee welcomed representatives from El Salvador, Honduras and the Bahamas. The three groups toured the parade route, the West Virginia Wesleyan campus, and some of the many local attractions, including spending time in Elkins with Commissioner Siler.
“All four groups were delighted with the opportunity, location and hospitality they found here at Buckhannon and Elkins,” Sanders said. “They loved the area and all four plan to attend the competition next year.”
The week-long festivities will begin on July 17 and continue until July 23, when the official closing ceremonies take place. Throughout the week there will be parades, shows, competitions, displays and carnival rides in downtown Buckhannon.
For more information on the event, visit https://wamsb2023.com.