This year, the first annual Bartow County Marching Exhibition was hosted at Woodland High School. The five schools in our county: Adairsville, Cartersville, Cass, Rockmart and Woodland, came together to perform their halftime shows for one another in the exhibition. The students in each band enjoyed food, made friends with other band members, purchased T-shirts and observed the performances of our community’s marching bands.
BCME is a showcase of our community’s high school marching bands in a non- competitive event. However, judges are present to provide commentary and constructive criticism for each band director to assist their band in preparation for competitions. The bands have the same time allotted to warm up and perform as if it were a competition.
Robert Davidson, a senior drum major of the Woodland band, said, “It was a great experience for me. The competition-like atmosphere made for an amazing performance by Woodland and all the other bands. I really enjoyed seeing the other bands perform from the stands. We got to see the products of the hard work put into the other bands' shows.”
Each of the schools in our area attends different band competitions, so they often miss out on the chance to see their neighboring bands perform. This exhibition creates the opportunity for each band student to watch the other schools halftime show.
“We have a very close community of high schools in Bartow County. In many ways, competition permeates our community, and this gives us an opportunity to come together and support all of the Bartow County students in performing excellence,” says Mr. Willoughby, Woodland High School band director.
Adairsville High School's band opened the exhibition with its show, Celestial Sojourn, including Fanfare for the Third Planet by Richard L. Saucedo, and Mars and Jupiter by Gustav Holst.
The Cass High School band used the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as its inspiration for the music in its show, A Colonel Salute, performing patriotic pieces ranging from When Johnny Comes Marching Home to The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The Cartersville High School band performed their western themed show, Scenes from the Old West, including pieces from the William Tell Overture, selections from the Corral Rhapsody, Buckaroo Holiday and Can-Can.
Rockmart High School rocked the stands with its show, Women of Rock. The crowd-pleasing show included the songs: Heartbreaker, Barracuda, What About Love, Bad Reputation, Hit Me with your Best Shot and I Love Rock and Roll.
Woodland High School Marching Band closed the exhibition with a show themed Jericho, including arrangements of the folk tune Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, as well as music from the film Prince of Egypt.
Many seniors are looking forward to being able to come back, sit in the stands filled with Friday night memories, and watch their school perform at this exhibition.
“I am definitely going to come back to see the exhibition once I graduate. It will bring back so many memories I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make without band and this exhibition,” said Meghan Frizby, a senior in the Woodland High School band.
“It is my hope that [BCME] becomes an annual event and grows in popularity among parents, community members and administrators,” said Mr. Willoughby.
Many of the students involved agree that it was a great experience that will help them in competitions. As a community, we should come together to support our local bands and help the Bartow County Marching Exhibition grow.