Bands from across Northwest Georgia found their way to Historic Barron Stadium to compete in the 48th Annual Peach State Marching Festival hosted by the Rome City Schools Band program.
Chad Hannah, Director of Bands for RCS, said this tradition is one he holds dear. He also said this band competition is one that brings our entire community together for an evening of marching, music, and an opportunity to showcase how art education contributes to student success.
Performing in exhibition were the Rome Middle School Marching Band and the Rome High School Sound of the Seven Hills. For the middle school band students, this contest is one of the few opportunities they have to show what they have learned during marching season. The young Wolves were also exposed to what band education will look like for them in the future and hopefully inspire them to keep their skills sharp in preparation for the next level.
“There are so many people who help to make this competition successful,” Hannah said. “We were fortunate to have a great group of judges this year, and we want to definitely say thank you to them for coming out. We are also grateful that our parents and our school system has always supported us and made sure that the event can happen on a reoccurring day. We don’t really have to advertise the event, because Peach State is always on the fourth Saturday of the month. Mr. (Louis) Byars, our RCS School Board, and the City of Rome works with us to allow this event to happen. All of these elements come together to make sure this is a really great program for our kids.”
Hannah also noted that Peach State is a major fundraising effort for Rome Bands. So, the success of this event helps him to provide his program with the tools students need to learn at a high level.
“We had 24 performances, including our high school and middle school bands,” said Hannah.
“Our middle school was wonderful, by the way. Those two gentlemen, Corey Newton and Ben Williams are so talented, and Rome City Schools is fortunate to have them. They have done a great job of teaching our middle school kids to play and march and get them ready to come to high school.
“I can tell you that our bands are always good,” added Hannah when discussing how proud he is of his students. “And coming out of last year’s challenges, we really did not know what was going to happen. There were a lot
of variables and we were hoping that this year would be a return to normal. But we still had to work to keep our students safe, and to my surprise, our kids stuck with us. They are very easy to teach and they like the show, so they have worked extra hard to be sure they can present something special for our community.”
Hannah said that he is also grateful for all the educators who help his program. He said that he believes he has the best group of teachers in the state and that has translated to one of the most successful band programs in Georgia.
Rome High School’s Sound of the Seven Hills will travel to Central Carroll High School for the Super Bowl of Sound Band Competition, their last competition of the year, this Saturday, October 30. Rome takes the field at 8:20 p.m.
“We always have a lot of our kids return for Peach State and they tell me that college is much easier for them. They tell me that what they learned on the field helps them to navigate college life,” Hannah said with a proud grin on his face. “For us, that is the ultimate goal. I sincerely hope that the values we try to teach, along with our music education program, helps our children to be successful down the road.”