RICHMOND — How cold and windy was it at the Kentucky band championships?
The guy hawking $5 programs pitched that "They keep the wind out of your face."
The wind-chill combo of 28 frosty degrees at noontime kept things moving at Roy Kidd Stadium on Saturday, as 5A competitors moved through their semifinal routines briskly.
Four competitors from each division from 1A to 5A moved on to the finals on Saturday night. All the final performances were held in Richmond; earlier in the day, the semifinals had been held at various locations around the region, with only the 5A competition held at Roy Kidd.
Some competitors, particularly those who had to perform with flags, ribbons and other props while dressed in sheer attire, were seen shivering before their band routines began.
The wind kicked up particularly harshly during Tates Creek High School's "Pulling Strings" routine, but the band finished strong.
Aaron Cunningham, assistant band director, said it was the band's "best performance all year. ... They were very passionate about it."
Tates Creek did not make the 5A finals — which included Lafayette, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Madison Central and North Hardin.
Madison Central's "Vendetta" — a godfather/gangster-themed presentation with precision choreography — was popular with the hometown crowd. But Dunbar's "Unbridled," with its Kentucky theme and white fences, and Lafayette's "Suite Child o' Mine," about the imagination and innovation of figures such as Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, also brought loud and enthusiastic cheering sections.
Tatyonna Williams of Dunbar thought her band nailed its semifinal performance.
"I think we did amazing," she said. "Once you get started you forget about the cold."
Bandmate Tori Seyda agreed: "That's the best performance we've had all year."
While Lafayette band member Grant Holcomb waited, he focused on the performance that awaited him just around the corner.
"We're staying warm, keeping limber," he said. "It's integral to our performance."
Larry Nelson, father of Lafayette band senior Joel Nelson, said the wind and cold could affect intonation and blow around props — Lafayette's performance had three giant cubes that were scraped by the trees just outside the stadium as they were being moved into place.
Nonetheless, Nelson said of the band members, "They're looking forward to doing their best."
For Henry Clay's band, not making it to the final four of the Kentucky Music Educators Association event does not mean an end to the competitive season. Band Director Bill Kite said his band will take its "What's the Bright Idea" show, which featured a multi-colored pinwheel of ribbons, to the 2014 Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, to be held Nov. 12-15.
Henry Clay will see some familiar faces there: Meade County, which brought a witty ancient Rome-themed presentation called "Veni Vidi Vici" (translated "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered") to the Saturday championships, will also be on hand.