ROXBURY, NJ – Marching bands from at least seven North Jersey high schools will gather Sept. 19 in Succasunna to compete in the 7th annual Roxbury Classic, a major fundraiser for Roxbury High School’s band program.

So far, bands from Chatham High School, Immaculata High School, Mount Olive High School, Morris Hills High School, Wayne Hills High School, Morristown High School and Hillsborough, High School have signed-up to compete. The Marching Gaels competition band and the less formal Roxbury Sound will perform on an exhibition basis as the event’s hosts, not competing with the other bands.

There will be also be an exhibition performance by The FREE Players Drum Corps of Old Bethpage, N.Y. The drummers are all adults who have autism and other developmental disabilities.

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Serving as the event announcer will be 101.5 FM radio personality Bob Williams, who is also a Scout leader in the Succasunna based Boy Scout Troup 159.

“The marching bands are judged against other ensembles within their category (based on the number of marching musicians),” explained Roxbury High School Band Parents Association spokesman Peter Forester in a statement. “Each competing band is assigned a 15-minute time block during which they are required to enter the field, set up props and equipment, perform (amaze the crowd) and exit the field. Weeks of intense practice and rehearsals precede competitions to achieve the highest level of performance as possible, musically and visually.”

The Roxbury Classic dates back to 2009. Unlike many other high school band competitions, it is not sponsored by one of the large, regional marching band organizations that, Forester said, “oversee promotional efforts, competing band recruitment and assembling the judging panel, among other things” but charge a lot of money.

Three years ago, the Roxbury band directors and parents’ association “made a cutting edge decision about the marching band program and took The Roxbury Classic in a new direction,” Forester said. “They resolved to produce an event entirely independent of any umbrella agency. This allowed the Roxbury band program more flexibility with the number of bands they could accommodate in the competition as well as opened the way to attract higher caliber and more diverse adjudicators while continuing to run a professional, upbeat competition with an emphasis towards hospitality.”

The event will be at Roxbury High School. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and competition will start at 6:15 p.m. It will cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and nothing for children four years old and younger.