COVINGTON - Although the Eastside Eagles and Newton Rams will be competing on the football field tonight, the schools' bands will join together at halftime.
At halftime during tonight's football game at Homer Sharp Stadium, Newton High School's The Sound Factory and Eastside High School's The Pride of Eastside will combine for a special performance in recognition of Patriots Day. They will play "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."
"Two years ago when the football schedule came out, and I realized this year's Newton/Eastside game would be on Sept. 11, I knew we needed to do something special," said Alan Fowler, band director at Eastside High School. "America is special to all of us, and for anyone alive on Sept. 11, 2001, we witness the world as we knew it change. America changed. Perspectives changed. How could we not do something to honor the fallen and the heroes on this special occasion?"
He said the two bands have combined a few times in the past, but the last time was three years ago.
"My students understand the special significance of the occasion. I love Eastside and, of course, hope the Eagles win the game, but just like last week, when the administrations from Alcovy and Eastside saluted the Newton County Sheriff's Department, we are a community," Fowler said. "And while we have our rivalries and we each want our schools and teams to be the best, we shop together, we go to church together, our futures are tied together. Let's celebrate that community."
In addition to combining the two bands, the halftime performance will include a choir from Springfield Baptist Church.
"Sept. 11 always gives me reason to pause and be thankful for all that I have and all that I have been fortunate enough to experience," Fowler said. "Our community means a lot to me, and what better time to recognize that during the halftime of traditionally the biggest football game of the season?"
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.