Killeen’s traditional spirited school year start steps off the marching line Saturday.

It’s the 33rd annual Spirit Spectacular at Leo Buckley Stadium, featuring all four Killeen Independent School District high school bands with dance teams and color guards.

The performance begins at 8 p.m.

Ellison is the host and will perform last. Marching bands from Killeen, Harker Heights and Shoemaker high schools will perform as well.

Jeff Smith, director of bands at Ellison, said the annual Spirit Spectacular gives the district’s four high school programs a chance to show off what they learned in summer band rehearsals.

The event, under the lights of Buckley Stadium, serves as preparation for the new football season and upcoming marching band contests.

Tickets are $6 and are available from Ellison band students or at the stadium gate the evening of the event. The performance is an Ellison band booster club fundraiser. A portion of proceeds goes to the other three band clubs, too.

Spirit Spectacular, now in its third decade, began as an ice cream social in the Ellison High School parking lot.

In that first year, Smith said, the band performed in the school parking lot to show parents what students had learned during preparation for the season of halftime shows and contests.

The event quickly moved to Buckley Stadium and for a while attracted other area high schools, including Temple and Copperas Cove.

The tradition has proved advantageous, Smith said, to culminate the two-week marching band rehearsal with an actual performance.

It’s also nice, he said, to perform in front

of a stadium audience without the added excitement of a football game.

“We like to host it,” he said. “It’s a big deal to us.”

Spirit Spectacular is two days before the start of school Monday and the weekend before all four high schools begin the regular football season on Aug. 30.

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