DANVILLE — A former director of the Danville High School's Band of Vikings is set to return to the school's football field this year to help judge the 40th annual Viking Invitational Marching Band Competition.
Jon Dugle will be one of eight judges at the competition, held on Sept. 28 at the Ned Whitesell Field, on the east side of the high school, 202 E. Fairchild St., Danville.
Instrumental music director Kent Krause said the school is excited to welcome back Dugle, who led the band from 1973 to 1985. Dugle will be recognized at the event for his contribution's to the school's music program.
"He's one of the most successful band directors to come from Danville High School," Krause said of Dugle, who now lives in Tennessee. "He left here to become the band director at Western Illinois University, and he stayed there until he retired."
Hosted by the DHS Instrumental Music Boosters, the event is open to the public. Tickets are $3 for children, students and senior citizens, and $7 for adults, and will be available at the door.
The first band performs at 4 p.m., and the Band of Vikings is scheduled to play in exhibition at 8 p.m. An awards show will be held at 8:15 p.m. Trophies for first, second, third places and grand champion will be given for music performance, visual performance, percussion and color guard.
"This is a tremendous community event," Krause said, adding it draws students, band parents and families, music enthusiasts and community members from across the state. "Our stands are full all day, and we're hoping that a lot of people come out."
It's also the booster's biggest fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds including concession sales go to support the school's band and orchestra programs.
"We use it to purchase new instruments, new music, anything in our program," Krause said. "Without the successful Viking Invitational, it would be difficult for us to operate."
This year, 13 bands are set to compete: Paris Cooperative, Oblong, Bismarck-Henning, St. Joseph-Ogden, Lawrenceville, El Paso-Gridley, Urbana, Charleston, Hoopeston Area, Watseka, Herscher, Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Champaign Central.
The Band of Vikings — which has 90 members, including 60 band members — will perform its competition show, called "Postcards." The music features a collection of American folks songs including "Simple Gifts," "Chester," and "Shenandoah," and some original material by composer Craig Fitzpatrick.
"We're hopefully trying to tell a story about a young lady who packs her bags and goes on an American journey," Krause said, adding the color guard will perform an entire routine with suitcases in the second movement.
"This show is definitely a step or two up from last year's show in terms of difficulty," Krause continued. "We are trying to reach the next level in our competitive season. The band is doing very well. They have a fantastic attitude and a great work ethic."
Krause added the band will sport new hats this year. "We're trying to update our look a little."