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Newton band ready for JAM Boree competition

Staff Photo: Erin Evans
 The Newton High School Sound Factory band is getting ready for its debut in the Spring JAM Boree this week. Pictured, left to right, are advanced band class students 11th-grader Saul Luna and 10th-graders Kwamane Brown and Matthew Richmond, who are led by director Jason Smith. The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 from Smith. 

Staff Photo: Erin Evans The Newton High School Sound Factory band is getting ready for its debut in the Spring JAM Boree this week. Pictured, left to right, are advanced band class students 11th-grader Saul Luna and 10th-graders Kwamane Brown and Matthew Richmond, who are led by director Jason Smith. The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 from Smith. 

COVINGTON — The Newton High School Sound Factory marching band is getting ready for a battle.

On Friday, the band will compete against Washington High School's band when NHS makes its debut in the Spring JAM Boree, an annual band competition.

• What: Spring JAM Boree

• When: 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday

• Where: James R. Hallford Stadium at Georgia Perimeter College's Clarkston Campus, 3789 Memorial College Ave., Clarkston

• Cost: $15 from NHS Band Director Jason Smith or $18 at the door

Friday battles

Chamblee Drumline

Avondale vs. Clarkston

Cedar Grove vs. Creekside

Druid Hills vs. McNair

Towers vs. Tucker

Tri- Cities vs. North Atlanta

Stone Mountain vs. North Clayton

Newton vs. Washington

Saturday battles

Arabia vs. Lanston Hughes

Mays vs. Lithonia

Columbia vs. LoveJoy

Miller Grove vs. Stephenson

Redan vs. Whitehaven (Tenn.)

MLK vs. SWD

"We were invited (to the event) based on our performances earlier this year," said NHS band director Jason Smith. "This is great, great exposure for our band program. ... It opens up more opportunities for us."

The band is among 27 from across the state and Tennessee that will participate in the special event, which will be held this weekend at James R. Hallford Stadium at Georgia Perimeter College's Clarkston Campus, located at 3789 Memorial College Ave. in Clarkston.

"The level of competition and excitement is extremely high, which in return renders great performances from all bands," Smith said.

The event is similar to a Battle of the Bands type event — which traditionally has one band play, followed by another band. At the JAM Boree, however, both bands will be on the football field in a block of 50 yards. One band will start, and then the next will play. This will occur for four sets and last about 30 minutes.

"We will play about 15 minutes total," Smith said, adding that he's bringing about 100 band members, including some rising ninth-graders. "Some bands might feature their drill, flag or dance teams during a set."

Smith expects more than 10,000 spectators at the event.

"This is probably going to be the largest crowd that (the students) have performed in front of," Smith said.

Although some students might be nervous about that fact, he said students are looking forward to the event.

"They are excited because a lot of the students have been as spectators, but they have never participated," he said.

Smith encourages band families and supporters, students, staff members and other community members who enjoy marching band performances to come to the event, even if it's only to support the school.

"We want to try to get a crowd out there and the fans behind us," Smith said. "Mainly crowd participation is really the judge of who wins the battle. ... We want to make sure the fans are there to cheer us on."

The NHS band will battle during the 7 p.m. event Friday; the JAM Boree also continues Saturday.

Tickets for Friday's event cost $15 each if they are purchased from Smith; otherwise, they cost $18 at the gate on the day of the event. Each band will earn a percentage of funding from ticket sales to support its program.

The event continues at 5 p.m. Saturday, but Newton is not part of that day's festivities. Smith also has tickets available for that event.

Earlier this school year, the NHS Sound Factory participated in a Battle of the Bands in Columbus and other band festivals in DeKalb and Rockdale counties. Some NHS band members also will be featured in the first Concerts on the Square event at noon Thursday as part of the High School Honors Band, which also includes band members from Alcovy and Eastside high schools.