Bands play through the rain

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - The Towns County High march­ing band is the first to per­form Satur­day at Bar­ron Sta­dium. RN-T As­so­ci­ate Ed­i­tor The crowd hud­dles un­der um­brel­las and pon­chos Satur­day dur­ing the Peach State March­ing Fes­ti­val.

High school mu­si­cians, fam­ily and friends from Geor­gia, Alabama, and Ten­nessee — even Florida — braved the rain Satur­day for the an­nual Peach State March­ing Fes­ti­val. The start time was de­layed un­til af­ter 3 p.m. in an ef­fort to avoid the rain, but the weather wouldn’t co­op­er­ate so the first sev­eral bands had to per­form in the wet con­di­tions.

At least the field at Bar­ron Sta­dium is now cov­ered by ar­ti­fi­cial turf, un­like the grass and mud that was preva­lent the last time Peach State was plagued by heavy rain in 1997.

“The only thing that will stop the high school bands from tak­ing the field are light­ning or sheets of mas­sive rain,” said Rome High Band di­rec­tor Chad Han­nah. “They’re troop­ers about how they go about it.”

Han­nah was ex­cited about the band from Crestview High School in the pan­han­dle of Florida com­ing to Rome for the march­ing fes­ti­val. “I’ve known Jody Dunn for about 14 years. He’s been known to travel out of state from time-to-time, and he in­quired about Peach State so I told him to come on up,” Han­nah said.

Funds from the fes­ti­val are used to pay for band equip­ment, uni­forms, any­thing a kid might need to par­tic­i­pate in the band pro­gram at Rome High.

The Sound of the Seven Hills band pro­gram at Rome High has more than 600 students in­volved at the mid­dle and high school lev­els. Han­nah said a large num­ber of band students go on to play in col­lege bands, in­clud­ing the Jack­sonville State Univer­sity March­ing South­ern­ers who per­formed in ex­hi­bi­tion late Satur­day night.

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