Stroube said using band size and school size to classify bands makes them more comparable, because it is based on the potential represented by the number of band members and tempered by the potential represented by the school population from which the band draws.
Tilghman and Murray are the only bands in this area to change classifications. The 2019 classification for bands in this area -- and their classification last year -- are:
• 5A: McCracken County (5A in 2018).
• 3A: Calloway County (3A).
• 2A: Paducah Tilghman (3A), Murray (1A).
• 1A: Mayfield (1A).
Tilghman Band Director James Gregory said the change in classification will not affect the band, since it prepares for competitions, not for its competitors.
"We were teetering back and forth between 2A and 3A anyway, when the system was based only on enrollment," he said. "Each year, we were one or two bands into (the lower end of the Class 3A listing).
"It doesn't matter which class we're in. We're going to show up, we're going to compete and we're going to contend. Being in the 2A class presents some really good opportunities for us. I think all of those bands in 2A are competing in the KMEA championships."
Paducah Tilghman and McCracken County high schools will open the competition season on Sept. 7 at McCracken's Mustang Music in Motion, an event not sanctioned as a contest by KMEA. The event will help participating bands prepare for the competition season.
Both local high school bands are coming off of their best years to date, with McCracken placing 11th in the 2018 Class 5A semifinals and Tilghman finishing 12th in the Class 3A semifinals.
Photo credit: Thomas Dean Stewart