CLINTON — For the Clinton High School marching band, the arrival of fall doesn’t mean just the beginning of another River King football season.

As the weather begins to cool and leaves change colors, it also means that the band is in the thick of competition season.

Band director Josh Hahn and his group of 125 students are set to travel eastern Iowa this fall going head-to-head with other marching bands, competing for performance supremacy.

The competitive side of the CHS marching band is one that has proven successful in the past, Hahn said.

“Competitions are really a big tradition here,” Hahn said. “They’ve been doing it for probably 30-plus years, so it’s kind of a cool thing, a cool tradition that we’re carrying on. We do fairly well at most of competitions, but band competitions are kind of cool because we’re not divided up into classes or districts. They throw us all in to one pool, so we compete with some of the big schools in the state.”

Competitions are scored by four judges who critique how the marching bands “put it all together” — the motions and maneuvers are equally as important as the actual sound. The group’s color guard and drum line are also scored, however they are judged separately.

Schools are afforded the freedom to choose their music and themes for the competitions. Hahn said this year’s routine features music on the spectrum of classical all the way to Dave Matthews Band.

“We have an audience here in Clinton that really appreciates all of the different sounds of our shows,” Hahn said.

Today, the group is competing at Western Dubuque. On Sept. 23, Hahn will take the band to a competition at Marion High School, then the following week on Sept. 30 the show heads to Cedar Rapids.

But on Oct. 14 for the first time ever, CHS will get to play host. Friends, family, and fans won’t have to travel to support the River Kings and River Queens.

“This is kind of a neat deal for us because Clinton has always been known for its marching band, but we’ve never hosted here,” Hahn said. “We love our audience here in Clinton because they appreciate and know what we’re putting into our show. To get to compete in front of them here coming up is going to be a lot of fun.”