Twenty-nine bands from middle schools, junior high schools and high schools throughout Central Texas will perform in the 12th annual Temple College Band Invitational May 17-18.

The Temple College Band Invitational offers school bands the opportunity to gain performance experience in a professional setting. Each band will perform a concert of two or three prepared pieces and receive written feedback from a panel of experienced judges. Participating bands also receive a professional recording of their performance.

All performances will take place in the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center at Temple College. On Wednesday, May 17, performances will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Thursday, May 18, performances will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

This is the largest number of bands that have ever participated in the event. School districts sending bands include Belton, Bruceville-Eddy, Bryan, Hillsboro, Jarrell, Killeen, Little River-Academy, McGregor, Mexia, Moody, Salado, Taylor, Temple and Waco.

The current coordinator of the event is Jennifer Essary, a former band director at Bonham Middle School in Temple.

“When I was a band director, my associate and I would bring our beginning bands to this festival every year,” Essary said. “Preparing for this contest really helped our students learn how to play together as a band and really elevated their level of musicianship. The experience helped them gain skills they’ll use their whole lives, such as working together as a team to achieve their goals, learning to deal with criticism, and owning up to their mistakes when they heard the recording of their performance. Being able to provide students with this type of experience is an incredibly valuable tool for our local band directors.”

For more information, call the Temple College Fine Arts Office at (254) 298-8555.