PALMER — Colony High School’s marching band a.k.a. Thee Northern Sound is once again inviting bands from the Valley and beyond to perform on their home football field this Thursday, starting at 6 p.m.

Houston Junior/Senior High School and Palmer High School’s marching bands have already confirmed they will attend the invitational. Plus, there’s an all new presence this year. The Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums band will make their first appearance at this event.

“That’s new and we’re excited about that… getting a different part of the [Alaskan band] community out here,” CHS Band Director Jamin Burton said.

Houston recently held their first invitational with CHS as their guest. The two schools made history for the Valley by playing several songs together at the end of the show. Burton said they had a wonderful time and it was clear Houston’s goal was all about connectedness and “wanting everyone to succeed.”

“My kids felt very welcome and wanted to stay all night long,” Burton said.

Burton noted the lineup and order for this Thursday’s invitational is subject to change since Wasilla High School’s band hasn’t confirmed.

This tradition of showing off Colony’s marching band’s hard work and inviting other bands to do the same started 15 years ago.

Burton said one of the main highlights has to be from the last few years. He said it’s been great to see Valley high schools form bands of their own, growing and participating each year.

“That’s the best part, seeing other people doing the same things we love doing and getting together,” Burton said.

The Colony marching band has achieved widespread recognition for their professional sound, performing amongst other top level bands across the country and recently, across Europe. From the Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City to the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, Thee Northern Sound receives calls from across the globe each year to perform.

“I think it’s a challenge for me. The kids want to be excellent and they want to be good… They come in ready to go and ready to learn and want to do the best show. So it keeps me on my toes trying to make sure that I am still energetic and trying to move forward with the program because you can’t stay where you are in life. You’re either progressing or you’re regressing,” Burton said.

This event is free and open to public. There will be concessions and merchandise vendors onsite.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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