2023 Classic on the Cane continues 34 years of musical excellence

Dancing, flag twirling, marching and music were the order of the day as 24 high school bands with several hundred musicians from every corner of Louisiana as well as East Texas converged on Northwestern State University’s Turpin stadium for the 2023 Classic on the Cane High School Band Competition. The competition, a longtime tradition among band programs in Louisiana and elsewhere, is in its 34th year. The Classic on the Cane is a superb opportunity for the bands to showcase their abilities and spend a day in friendly competition with fellow musicians.

Each marching band gave a half-time type performance and was graded on several factors relating to marching, performing and musicality. The east side of Turpin stadium was packed end to end with the band members’ families and supporters who enthusiastically waved signs and cheered their favorite bands.

This year’s event had a notable addition to the competitive field. The NCHS “Pride of the Tribe”, over 50 members strong, made its first appearance at the competition since 2004. The Chiefs have made notable strides under 2nd year director Cody Thurber and assistant director Emmaleigh Toney. Ms. Toney, an NSU alumna, is also in charge of the band’s auxiliary units. The band’s halftime performances during the home football games have been superb and their show at the band competition was likewise well done. Their hard work and dedication set the example for the young men and women in their charge. Go Chiefs!

The 265 members of NSU’s Spirit of Northwestern band gave the last performance of the evening, a high energy production of Broadway numbers that drew repeated applause from the crowd. It is a sign of both NSU’s excellence and service to our state that many of the band directors at the competition are NSU alumni.

The Classic on the Cane has been a fixture of the high school marching band scene for the past 34 years. The Natchitoches Parish Journal is looking forward to seeing some of the superb young musicians at the competition coming to NSU to continue their education. We are looking forward to next year’s contest!