As many as 1,700 people packed Etowah High School’s football stadium for the annual marching band exhibition, where all six county high school bands presented themed performances for spectators.
Michael Foxworth is directing the Etowah Eagle Band for his fifth year, and said, with about 800 band students, more than 800 tickets sold and a full house of band supporters attending, the event was a huge success.
“We were jam-packed … the crowd loved it,” Foxworth said. “All the bands did great, everyone had a different theme and I thought it was a great night.”
River Ridge High School won the Spirit Award, and Foxworth said it was a new “novelty” award, created especially for the exhibition.
“We put together an old cymbal and a cowbell and mounted it on a trophy so (the bands) can pass it around year to year,” Foxworth said. “We were just trying to do something a little different.”
Etowah’s band had a theme of After Worlds, which was based on “The Devine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, going through the three movements of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise.
Among the other performances were themes of pirates, James Bond, patriotism, daredevils and more, Foxworth said.
Although there were no scores, judges offered suggestions for each band, and Foxworth said band members have the opportunity to support each other.
“It’s not a contest; there were no scores. We have judges but they just give comments that we can take back to rehearsal this week to help our band get better,” Foxworth said. “We get to support each other; it’s really a cool, cool setting.”
The exhibition rotates schools, and each high school host the event every six years. The host school is in charge of planning and execution, and gets the chance to raise funds for their band.
“Each band takes turns. When they host it they (decide what to do),” Foxworth said. “Lots of planning goes into this one night, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Foxworth said the funds raised at this year’s exhibition, about $5,000, will be put into the band’s uniform account. He said so far, the band has saved about $25,000 and new uniforms will cost about $40,000.
“Etowah hasn’t had new uniforms in 12 years,” Foxworth said. “So, we’re due. We’re saving for that.”
The inaugural Reinhardt University marching band closed out the night with a performance, which Foxworth said “all the high school kids loved.”
“They did great,” Foxworth said. “They did pop music like “Rocky”… it was very cool.”
Foxworth said the band students work hard, and support each other across the county, “they pull for each other.”
“It’s just fun, all of the band directors in the county get along so well. We love to perform for each other, to see each other, and we get to socialize a little bit,” Foxworth said. “Our band students are competitive, but we all support each other in the county, that’s what’s so cool about working here … The bands don’t have to beat each other, they can both be very successful and very good, without winning or losing.”