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MTZ Marching Music Games makes return

By Blake Faith
Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion Marching Music Games returns for its 15th year this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Mt. Zion football field. Mt. Zion high school band director Patrick Ward and Michelle Marion shared their excitement and readiness for this event.

In recent years, the games have consisted of a parade completion, percussion competition and field show. The field show is each participating band’s half-time show. This year’s games will only consist of a field show and will have 10 schools here to compete.

The Mt. Zion high school band will perform their field show at 6:30 p.m. when the judging for the other bands happens. Mt. Zion is not allowed to pace since they are hosts.

This event takes a whole year of planning. The planning process consists of recruiting schools via phone calls, online or by word of mouth.

You get to know who the directors are,” Ward said. “We’re competing against them through different competitions and you can get to know who people are some of it’s by word of mouth, but there is a website that that you can post site your competition day and details and like entries on so I do a lot of that where I will make sure that all of our information is posted on. A lot of the people who come to our show, come every year.”

The first band will compete at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and free for ages two and under.

Ward’s favorite part about the games is seeing his students host other groups and seeing how proud they are to be a part of Mt. Zion and represent Mt. Zion. Marion’s favorite part is seeing other bands perform and then see how excited their kids are to perform and get the chance to do what they do.

Ward, Marion and Becky Garrett wanted to give shout-outs to their two biggest sponsors. Those sponsors are Decatur Dental and Blue Rock Event Solutions.

Ward said the overall message he wanted to send to readers and community is to come out and spend the day at the competition. Ward went on to say the high school students put in 12 hours a day work days the week before school starts which includes learning to march, learning their music, putting their field show together, putting the drill together, and then adding music to it. The band also rehearses on Tuesday evenings.

“I think a lot of people don’t have an understanding of how much work goes into marching band if they’ve not done it,” Ward said. If you’ve never been a part of a marching band, you don’t necessarily understand the level of hours or the number of hours and the level of dedication it takes to put on a show of this capacity.”

Marion added that this gives the students a chance to have the audience they deserve.

“A Lot of times when you’re at a football game, you see your school’s halftime show, but everybody gets up and goes to the restroom or goes and gets a snack and the kids don’t necessarily get the audience that they deserve,” Marion said. “So this is a great opportunity for an audience to come out and watch them and really see, this is what this is all about. Because they’re the focus as opposed to the football team being the focus. They are the focus and watching them do what they’re good at and what they love. And I don’t think people quite realize exactly how hard it is and how much effort these kids put into it.”

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