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Rockdale’s marching bands to strut their stuff in annual exhibition

CONYERS — It’s time once again to strike up the band.

Marching bands at Rockdale County’s three high schools are preparing for competition at the end of the month by participating in the annual Rockdale County Marching Band Exhibition.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, bands from Salem, Heritage and Rockdale County high schools will perform at Salem High School. There will be about 400 band members taking part in the exhibition. The event is free and open to the public.

According to Scott Smith, director of bands at HHS, the event is not a competition but an opportunity for the bands to perform and gain helpful insight into their performances.

“We have this event for three main reasons,” Smith said. “To perform for the community, to perform for each other, and to prepare for our upcoming competitions. The two bands that are not performing sit in the stands to watch the group on the field. At football games, they are on the track and cannot really see the show. This lets them cheer on their friends at the other schools and allows the schools to support each other.”

The exhibition serves as a good warm-up for marching band competitions that all three bands will enter at the end of September.

“The exhibition is not a contest, but we hire judges to come in and give us feedback on how we are doing,” Smith said. “This helps the directors and the students get expert opinions on things we can improve on as we prepare for competition.”

All three bands have prepared rousing halftime shows featuring a wide range of music from rock to Motown.

Smith said the theme for the Heritage show is “Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

“We will be performing ‘We Will Rock You,’ ‘Open Arms,’ ‘Carry on my Wayward Son,’ ‘Dream On,’ ‘Satisfaction,’ and ‘Paint it Black.’ You will feel like you are at a rock concert with a high energy, crowd-friendly show,” he said.

Salem’s Director of Bands Ben Tingle said the “Pride of the Tribe” will perform a spirited show titled “Welcome to Our House.” The show features the Salem fight song as well as “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” the Salem Alma Mater and “Seminole Uprising.”

“The Salem band students have been busy preparing the show and participating in community events this fall such as the new Conyers TJ Maxx grand opening and upcoming performances in Atlanta at the Children’s Healthcare Holiday Parade, Underground Atlanta and the Governor’s Mansion,” said Tingle. “In October the band will recognize breast cancer awareness by wearing pink wristbands, headbands, T-shirts and gloves at all performances.”

The familiar sounds of “Motown: Yesterday, Today, and Forever!” will be the theme of the Rockdale County High School Band halftime show.

RCHS Director of Bands Christopher Coleman said the band will perform Motown favorites including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Get Ready,” “Can’t Help Myself,” “I’ll Be There,” “Uptight,” and “Dancing Machine.”

“This is the first show I planned, along with my new staff, with the Rockdale County High School Band,” said Coleman. “I’m super excited for the many things we have planned this year that the Rockdale Band has never done.”

Coleman said on the heels of the exhibition the Rockdale Band will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., on Sept 20 to 22 to represent Rockdale County in the Florida State University Marching Band Day. Band members will also attend the FSU vs Bethune-Cookman football game.