The SG Band of Stars brings Coachella to the Richard Snell Stadium

SGHS Band of Stars

Zeniya Buggs and Cydnie Grinnage

On October 22, 2022, the South Gwinnett Band of Stars, under the direction of band director, Marquell Oates, held their 2nd annual Battle of the Bands, the Comet Classic (hosted in part by Del Taco Snellville). This event was hosted by an arts advocate and well known figure among HBCU marching bands, Curtis Akeem. Top high school bands from across Metro Atlanta came out to showcase their talent. This year’s event included Jonesboro High School Marching Cardinals, M.L.K Kings of Halftime, Central Gwinnett High School Black Knights, Columbia High School War Eagles, Berkmar High School Marching Patriots, New Manchester High School Fame Band, Newton County Sound Factory, Stephenson High School Sonic Sound, and of course South Gwinnett High School Band of Stars. The stadium was filled with approximately 500 attendees. After speaking with the crowd, Jazira Brown (11), describes the event as a “fun and exhilarating experience.” Furthermore, she says, “Getting to be in the mix of the band of the band culture was exciting and [she] enjoyed every bit of it.”

The show of the season

The SGHS Band of Stars had a very energetic set. They wowed the crowd by executing a Beyoncé- Coachella themed showcase and performed a few of her hits such as her cover of “Before I Let Go”, “Beautiful Nightmares”, and “Crazy in Love”. Liyah Dent, a senior saxist at South, arrived on the field in a luxurious BMW and stunned the audience as South’s portrayal of “queen bee” – literally. In a full bee costume, Dent performed a phenomenal dance routine with the Blue Diamonds auxiliary. Dent explains that having the privilege of being SG’s queen bee was a great experience and she loved every second of it. Serving as an astounding way to wrap up the 2022-23 band season, Micah Halley, a senior drum major on the band, states, “with this being my last year this was a show and experience to remember.”

The Mass Band Performance

To conclude the Battle of the Bands, all nine participating bands came together on the field and performed the song “H Spot” by Lil Poppa and Yo Gotti. The mass band set was arranged by Kenneth Collins, the assistant band director of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Spectators of this grand finale described this experience as surreal and indescribable. While the Battle of the Bands is somewhat competitive in nature, this set by the mass band demonstrated the collaboration and great camaraderie across high school bands.