M101- Acronymaphobia & the LOMB Season

LOMB is an unusual marching band program.

I don’t mean unusual as in "weird”. I mean "extraordinary” or not-your-average-band.


Lake Orion Marching Band is a competitive marching band; these are pretty rare in the state of Michigan. If a high school does have a marching band, chances are that it performs at football games and assorted parades or school functions. LOMB does the normal stuff plus they add a competition show. That specialized show is what turns LOMB from an average marching band into the equivalent of a travel sports team.

The MCBA is the Michigan Competing Band Association, this is the league for our travel team. LOMB usually competes in four to five MCBA shows each year. We do not host any MCBA competitions but some of our neighboring schools do (Clarkston, Lakeland, Milford, Plymouth-Canton). MCBA also conducts the State Finals competition for the state of Michigan, held at Ford Field in Detroit.

LOMB also competes in BOA competitions. Do not confuse BOA with MSBOA. MSBOA (the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association) is for concert season. BOA is Bands of America, a nationwide competition marching band system. They host regional competitions in several states. The BOA season culminates with the Grand National Championships, held yearly at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, Indiana.

To qualify for BOA Grand Nationals, LOMB must compete in at least one BOA regional. LOMB usually selects the Southeast Michigan/Northwest Ohio regional with sites like Toledo, Akron, or Bowling Green, Ohio. LOMB performs at regionals, even during non-Grand National years.

The BOA Grand National Championships are open to the first 90 bands that apply. LOMB typically goes every other year but that schedule varies based on the discretion of our band directors. It’s a special trip when we do go and the kids have a great time no matter what they score. Please consider travelling to Grand Nats when the band goes. It’s an easy trip with tons of hotel choices. Grand National tickets are pricier than MCBA competitions but the caliber of shows is unmatched anywhere. Marching band doesn’t get better than what you’ll see at Grand Nats.

LOMB is a Flight I (one) band. The MCBA divides school bands based on their school’s total enrollment. That’s enrollment for the entire high school, not the number of band students. Flight I is the top tier, the biggest of the big boys for schools with more than 1,695 students. Even if LOMB doubled its numbers (or marched fewer students) it would still be a Flight I band. Flights run from I down to IV, plus an open class.

In my years watching other flights, I’ve noticed that Flight I schools tend to produce more polished shows than the lower flights. I assume this is because a Flight I band has a larger student body to draw from. Larger bands generally mean better funding and better staff. But at BOA Grand Nationals, we’ve seen some awesome Flight II bands, bigger does not equal better.

I’ve also noticed that LOMB seems a tad smaller than your average Flight I band. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic that we won’t be touching today…

Okay, so here’s the summary:

  • MCBA- 4-5 local shows
  • BOA- 1 regional, 1 Grand Nats
  • MSBOA- ignore that group from May to November
  • Flight I- big bands, big shows
  • Grand Nats- completely worth the trip

For more reading visit:


BOA Grand Nationals