THS Orange Express

The Tahlequah High School Orange Express performs at the Bentonville Marching Invitational.

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas - Tahlequah High School was among 15 high school marching bands from three states competing in the inaugural Bentonville Marching Invitational, in Bentonville, Arkansas, Oct. 6.

The Orange Express performed its 2018 competition show, entitled "Elemental World," twice at the event, after earning a berth in the evening finals portion of the event.

Today's top high school marching bands perform elaborate, theatrical music performances - complete with solos, choreography and props on the field. Each band is allotted 15 minutes to set up, perform, and clear the field for the next band. The bands were scored by and provided feedback from a renowned judging panel of experts in music, marching and visual effects.

Tahlequah took home the third-place trophy during preliminary competition in Class AA, and finished ninth overall during finals. Blue Springs (Missouri) South was crowned the event's Grand Champion.

"We were thrilled to have Tahlequah High School take part in the Bentonville Marching Invitational," said Tim Hendrix, BMI founder and director of bands at Bentonville High School.

"Just as any typical high school sports environment, these contests can be extremely competitive. However, there is still a level of support and mutual respect that is refreshing to see from each ensemble. Everyone tends to feed off of and push each other to deliver the best product on the field for everyone to enjoy. We were impressed with the level of artistry of Tahlequah's show."

The Bentonville Marching Invitational provided the Orange Express the opportunity to see how they stack up against other top bands. Seven of the bands performing at the BMI - including the host band, the Bentonville Pride - are scheduled to compete later this month at the Bands of America Super Regional competition in St. Louis. Bentonville and Lake Hamilton (Arkansas) High School, which was also in the field of competitors, will compete in the BOA Grand National Championships in Indianapolis in November.