The competition is over and it is about them having a good musical experience. I also like to pick easier music so I can get past the notes and rhythms and REALLY talk about being musical. Especially in a middle school All-Region.
I try to impart on the students some ensemble skills that they can take back home to their band rehearsals and, in turn, help their band. With an easier program it also gives me time to talk to the students about why music should always be a part of their lives, never quit band (parallels to their future employment and relationships).
The most important goal is a good performance of the music, but I want them to see the passion involved in making music.