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Event for bands the start of new musical tradition

Something special happened Saturday, Oct. 6. A new tradition was born on a Northwest Arkansas football field. Sixteen high school marching bands — 10 of them from Arkansas — put on a tremendous display of music and artistry at the inaugural Bentonville Marching Invitational.

Just as any typical high school sports environment, it was extremely competitive. However, there was still a refreshing level of support and mutual respect shown by each ensemble towards the other bands. While we crowned Blue Spring South the Grand Champion, every one of the nearly 2,000 members of the bands and their color guards were winners. They walked away with the satisfaction of having delivered a truly entertaining show for the fans of a sold-out BHS Tiger Stadium.

As the director of band for the Bentonville Pride Marching Band, I’d also like to personally thank the business community that extended its support through cash and in-kind donations to make this event possible — especially Visit Bentonville for its generous $10,000 grant to help us get this started. I would also be remiss if I did not thank the Bentonville band boosters and parents, superintendent of Bentonville Schools, Dr. Debbie Jones, Bentonville Athletic Director Scott Passmore and Bentonville High School Principal Jack Loyd of their support of our band program. Bentonville High is known for its outstanding fine arts programs and that is because we have an excellent and supportive administration and school board that understands the value the arts have in student’s lives.

Saturday was the first step in building this event into a must-attend, annual showcase of the best bands in the region. And, because this was a fundraiser for our program, it provided resources needed to help the Pride travel to regional and grand national competitions this fall to represent our school and our community on an even grander scale.

If you missed the event, we’d invite you to come see our show at halftime of any BHS home football game. I think you’ll be amazed at how different marching band may be than perhaps when we, as adults, went to high school — as well as just how much talent we are able to put onto one football field.

I personally look forward to seeing you Oct. 5, 2019, at the next Bentonville Marching Invitational.

TIM HENDRIX Bentonville

Ignore messages funded by secret ‘dark money’

For some time I’ve been aware of dark money and the damage done by the groups behind it. Last night I sacrificed some precious sleeping time to watch PBS’s “Point of View” documentary about dark money.

Dark money is unaccountable, untraceable and has determined the outcome of a frightening number of elections. What can ordinary voters do to recognize and combat dark money? This question has been on my mind and in my heart. The first answer that comes to mind is to use common sense. Unfortunately, this is not a good one. When we receive information that triggers an emotional response, common sense is pretty much beaten down. And besides, our own versions of common sense are not without bias.

The closer the Nov. 6 election gets, the more concerned I become about an infusion of dark money into our Arkansas election. Because I’ve been unable to develop a clear plan for what to do about dark money, I am sharing my thinking in the hope that other readers will clarify it and add to it.

First, completely disregard all attack ads that are launched toward the end of a campaign. By then, it is too late for a candidate to respond and clear his/her record.

Second, look for the “Paid for by” disclaimer that will indicate whether or not a campaign has paid for an ad. If the information is true, there will be a website for source documents to back up claims. The candidate being attacked should be able to clarify any misinformation, and if the opponent doesn’t take responsibility for the ad, you can assume it is a blatant lie. If no one is willing to claim the charges and back them up, disregard the ad.

No one wants to be the pawn of the organizations behind dark money.

REBECCA HILL Rogers

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