I was a total band kid in my high school years. Starting in the seventh grade, I played the trumpet and transitioned to the cymbals my junior year. As a senior, I was the OHS mascot. With that being said, it’s been years since I was in a football stadium for the sole purpose of marching in the band.
Saturday I had the chance to step back 18 years and be a band kid again. The 20th Covered Bridge Marching Festival was held at Gilbreath Stadium with 17 bands in attendance, and I was lucky enough to help! I loved seeing the pride in the faces of those young men and women as they stood at attention, ready to put on a show. It made me thankful for how lucky Blount County and Oneonta schools are to have these programs. Some systems see their music programs reduced, or even removed, due to monetary restraints. We still seem to hold on to the notion that music is instrumental to education…and it makes me so proud.
Some kids don’t play traditional sports. Some kids might not excel in many subjects. The kids I saw on the field Saturday, however, were pros at halftime entertainment. And might I add that learning the steps, music, and timing of a show, all while playing an instrument in a very hot uniform, is no easy task. The time and energy invested by the band directors, members, and parents was inspirational to see. Knowing that some of those kids would go on to play music at the college level, and even make a career of it, was exciting to see.
So during halftime, don’t make a run for nachos and a drink. Stick around and watch the band. There’s a lot of heart on that field!
Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.
Your friend, Richard Phillips