News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

As I’ve emphasized more than once, the aspect I often enjoy most at Friday night football games in the county has nothing to do with the teams on the field, but the marching bands who take over that field at halftime.

I know this puts me in a bit of a minority — aside from the band parents, most people are there to watch the game, and the dull roar of the crowd never really dies down no matter how loud the band works to soar over the disinterested masses.

On Tuesday, however, Walton County got a chance to showcase the bands as they deserve, as all four of Walton’s public high schools performed in the free Walton County Band Jamboree, without any distracting pigskin in the way.

Each band took the field and performed its entire halftime show, then allowed the next band to warm up and take the field for its turn on the field. The crowd was silent during the shows, watching every geometric shift of the pattern, every flip of a flag and every shuffle to the microphone for a solo with an intensity marching bands wish they could get more often.

As a marching band alumnus myself, I enjoyed watching the different shows in all their splendor. Sure, my experience on the field made it easier to tell when someone hit a wrong note or wasn’t quite in tune with the rest of the ensemble, but thankfully those flubs were few and far between.

I wish more people had come out to catch the show, but it was great to see the stands filled with passionate fans, even if that dratted football nonsense manages to bring more people in.

For those who, like me, enjoy the sidelines action as much as the gridiron action under the Friday night lights, Wednesday brings the natural companion for such feelings in The Tribune’s annual Halftime Showcase magazine, which focuses on our bands and cheerleaders at each high school.

Pick up a copy of the paper this week to get an in-depth look at all the preparation and work put in to keep the music and spirit going strong at every game. You’ll be glad you did.

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