INGSPORT — The Sullivan County marching bands exhibition performance originally scheduled for Thursday at Sullivan South High School has been rescheduled to 6:30 p.m .Thursday, Oct. 11. The first-time event was postponed because of predicted rain, band officials said. Sullivan South, North, Central and East high school bands are to perform at the exhibition.
KINGSPORT — Sullivan County’s four high school marching bands are joining forces for a first-ever exhibition this coming Thursday.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept 27, the marching bands of Sullivan South, East, North and Central high schools will come together on the football field at Sullivan South for the 1st Annual Sullivan County Marching Band Exhibition.
“This will be a night where the four bands can come together along with the community to view the hard work that has gone into producing the 2018 Marching band show from each of the high schools,” South band parent Vicky Pinto said. “This event is free to the public. Middle school band students are encouraged to attend so that they can witness the fun that high school marching band has to offer.” Members of other area bands and the public also are invited.
Directors of the bands are Heath Hopper at South, Nick Routh at North, Chris Smithson at Central and Beth Justice at East.
“This is each group kind of doing our own thing,” Hopper said Friday afternoon as his band practiced. “We never get to see each other at competitions.”
The last time the four bands worked together directly was in 2016, when they submitted a joint application to march in the inauguration parade of President Donald Trump. However, the band of bands did not perform in Washington, D.C., in January of 2017.
This marks the second-to-last marching season planned for all the bands except for East since the new West Ridge High School is set to open in the fall of 2020, combining North, South and much or all of Central into West Ridge and leaving East and possibly some former Central zone students going to East. West Ridge is projected to have about 1,700 students.
Hopper said that is part of the reason for the exhibition, an idea he borrowed from Georgia, where he once was a director, before moving to Mississippi near Memphis and then Sullivan County. Here, he said it will help band members who one day will be part of the same band get to know each other.
“We hardly get to see each other in a non-competitive way,” Hopper said.
He said donations will be welcome for all four programs but that admission is free. Limited concessions will be sold from 5:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., but he said the event is not to make money but to present the four band programs to the community. In case of heavy rain or other weather issues, he said a rain date would be announced.
Originally, the event was to be at Central, where the 2016 video of the inaugural application was made, but a soccer game was already scheduled there, so it was moved to South. The order of performances will be Central, North, East and South.
Here’s a sneak preview of South’s show from the Aug. 24 away performance at Volunteer High School: