"We will open and begin the event with the national anthem, and then we'll have each of the four high school bands in Bartow County perform, and we're also having a guest band that's going to come in from Rockmart High School, and so we're adding a guest band to our inaugural year since it's our first time doing this," said WHS band director Eric Willoughby.
Willoughby started his career in Cobb County and said seeing local band exhibitions in other counties encouraged him to bring the idea to Bartow.
"It was a wonderful way for the other band programs to see each other and support one another in a non-competitive environment and in an environment where the audience is there for the marching bands," Willoughby said. "Not to say football audiences are not very gracious and supportive, but between the talking and the popcorn eating, getting up and going down to get food and such, it is a little bit loud and there's still a lot of noise, so some of the nuances of the performances are not enjoyable because there's so much noise in the stands during a halftime show."
Willoughby said there will be judges at the exhibition to provide the bands and directors with comments, but will not be scoring the bands. He hopes the exhibition will continue in upcoming years, giving the other schools in the area an opportunity to host.
"[The non-competitive fashion] is the biggest plus side of things because often bands are competing with one another, and we're trying to build a family environment where we can appreciate each other's efforts in obtaining the same goals as performance ensembles," said Adairsville High School Band Director Kevin Brown. "[Willoughby] talked about it last year and just tried to set the wheels in motion and asked me if I'd be interested in doing [the exhibition] and I definitely agreed to participate."
Cass High Band Director Mack Roberts echoed Brown's statements.
"The most important thing for people to know is it's not a competition for each other, it's an opportunity for all of us to see each other and play for each other, and each other's parents and supporters," Roberts said. "[The bands] work very, very hard and need to be recognized for that across the county, so it's a good opportunity for everybody to see what everybody else is doing."
The event will begin at 7 p.m. and Willoughby said parking will be no different than at a football game. City and county school employees will be admitted free of charge with proper credentials and there will be a $5 admission charge for all other guests.
Calls to the Cartersville High School marching band program were not returned at press time.