SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Fifty years of music was celebrated in a big way Thursday night at the Sweetwater Union High School District’s annual Band Pageant.

More than 2,300 students marched on the field, but it was not a competition, but rather an exhibition to showcase the district's 12 high school marching bands.

“[We] show off our band and capabilities. We made championship this year, wahoo,” said Justin Pacheco, Chula Vista High School sophomore who plays the drums.

Sweetwater Union High School visual and performing arts director, Jeff Kover, said, “You get a bunch of kids and they get out on the field and they are musicians. They are artists.”

For Sweetwater High School color guard Janeth Trujillo, it’s a way to build confidence on the field. “When I do a toss and I catch it, I feel accomplished.”

Veteran pageant directors were also in attendance Thursday night.

“I started when I was a seventh grader at Castle Park Junior High School in 1970-something,” said Eric Mabrey, Olympian High School band director.

Also in attendance was the first band pageant band director in 1968, Ed Reed - a legend.

“[I] come back to see old friends and reminisce.”

Reed was joined by Orville Brown, from Bonita Vista Junior High. “It’s nice to see programs are still going. We’d be dinosaurs because when we did a show, we got in one spot and stood there and played.”

Middle school marching bands also participated Thursday night.

Band leaders said this is a great way to see what program they will grow into as they continue their music education.