The Astoria Marching Band’s competition season started off strong Saturday at the Sunset Classic Marching Band Competition at Hillsboro Stadium.

The trip nearly didn’t happen at all – the band’s equipment truck broke down north of Gearhart early Saturday morning. Thanks to students and parents who were ready to jump in and help out, all the equipment was hurriedly transferred to other vehicles, including a U-Haul truck and trailer from Trucke’s 1-Stop in Seaside, and the group got back on the road.

Astoria performed its show, “Outside the Box,” well enough for a second-place finish among the seven single-A bands in the preliminaries, earning a score of 69.3. The top three bands in the division were separated by just .15 points. Astoria was easily the smallest band at the show, with 27 members.

In their finals performance, the Astoria students jumped ahead of their single-A cohorts to earn a score of 73.6, taking eighth place overall in the 15-band contest that included Portland and Vancouver area schools with more than 100 marching members. And the coolest news of the day? Astoria’s Bruitus Montes de Oca was named Best Drum Major!

The band will travel to three more competitions this season: the Festival of Bands at the University of Oregon Oct. 22, the Northwest Association for the Performing Arts (NWAPA) Championships at Hillsboro Stadium Oct. 29, and the Auburn (Wash.) Veterans Day Marching Band Competition Nov. 5.

The Astoria Marching Band is supported entirely by students’ families and community donations. To make a contribution, contact Astoria Band Boosters treasurer Tom Strecker at (503) 791-6598.