Can you imagine a territory without Star Search? Perish the thought! Believe it or not, such things actually exist. Yes, Star Search, so much a part of our divisional and territorial life, is a one-off USA East original, where every participant is a star.
What a gem, maybe the most influential contributor to the musical and creative arts excellence of the USA Eastern territory.
First launched in 1984 with 4 categories and 80 participants, the multi-layered event has since evolved and expanded way beyond the initial projections, for sure. Originally envisioned as a venture to encourage budding brass musicians, vocalists and corps pianists, the increasing participant numbers and success of the endeavor resulted in added group categories and a wider and wider range of creative arts.
Just look at the sheer scope of the current sections – now 15 in all:
Acoustic Guitar Solo
Bass Guitar Solo
Drum Set Solo
Snare Drum Solo
It is estimated Star Search now includes over 1000 performances annually, with a building crescendo – from the privacy of the practice room, to the divisional platform, to the adrenaline-filled territorial finals stage, right at the very heart of commissioning weekend. What would commissioning weekend be without Star Search?
There are few sights as energetic and kinetic as the crowded auditorium awards ceremony, teeming with 2000 fidgety kids, edgy teens, stressed music leaders, cheering corps officers and doting parents. The tension is palpable and contagious, and the raucous cheering when winners are announced is a sheer delight.
Yes, jubilation and tears are both present, the very fabric of life, processing disappointments and handling success.
The endurance of Star Search is now sufficiently in place that almost every currently established elite USA East musician first went through the rigors of Star Search as youthful participants themselves.
In the long run, what is the tale-of-the-tape?
It is surely when that 8 year old junior solder stands up and sings a vocal solo for the first time in the local corps, or the focused teenager plays a piano offertory, or when a host of visiting proud parents come to the corps on a Sunday morning to cheer on the dance group, flowing in chiffon and comporting like Broadway professionals.
2023 Territorial Star Search finals are right on schedule for Saturday of commissioning weekend, June 10, in Hershey, PA. And, next year will be 40 years young and counting.
So, brace yourself. The spectacular sensational successful Star Search story is only just beginning.