Sound Factory UN Performance

Newton High School Sound Factory Takes Center Stage at United Nations Conference Against Corruption
Posted on 12/21/2023
band performingOn Monday, December 11, the Newton High School Sound Factory delivered a stellar performance at the United Nations’ 10th Conference of the States Parties (COSP) of the UN Convention against Corruption, held at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. The band's showcase drew global attention as they opened the prestigious event before representatives from over 189 nations.

Director of bands at Newton High School, Jason Smith, shared insights into the preparation leading up to the event, stating, “The band staff and I were aware of the invitation to perform for about three months, but honestly, it was challenging to keep it a secret from the students. With the football season winding down, the only other events for the marching band were the Christmas parades. When I introduced new music and extra rehearsals, some students questioned why we were learning new material. I managed to keep it from the parents until just a few days before the performance.”

The Sound Factory's performance at the conference was nothing short of extraordinary. They marched into the meeting, captivating the audience with a repertoire that included hits from Elton John, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Maroon 5, The Temptations, and more.

“The Newton High marching band’s performance was a wonderful welcome to the United States for diplomats from around the world,” praised Richard Nephew, U.S. State Department Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption. “The performance was an inspiring showcase of American culture that set the tone for a productive week.”

Reflecting on the unique opportunity, Smith remarked, “I don’t think the students will realize the magnitude of this performance until years later. Not many people can say they performed for a United Nations conference. This is just another memory and experience they’ll cherish for a lifetime. I’m thrilled that the Newton High School band program could provide that experience for them.”

While an unforgettable experience for the students, Newton High School Principal Dr. Shannon Buff emphasized the global impact of the performance, stating, “We know that the Newton Sound Factory is phenomenal, but not everyone else does. The world leaders at the UN meeting had the unique opportunity to witness an outstanding American high school band do what they do best—perform.”

Expressing pride in the student musicians, Dr. Buff added, “They make me proud every single day, but I have to admit, I was in tears watching them perform their hearts out in front of leaders from across the globe. It could have been an overwhelming experience, but they took it in stride and were absolutely outstanding.”

Shakila Henderson-Baker, Chair of the Newton County Board of Education, personally accompanied the band to witness their global performance.

"As Chair of the Newton County Board of Education, witnessing the Newton High School Sound Factory transcend borders with their exceptional performance at the United Nations was a testament to the power of music and education,” she said. “Seeing diplomats take their phones out to record and post our students is a testament to how the band's global impact reflects the unwavering commitment of our community to nurturing talent and fostering cultural exchange. On that day, Newton Sound Factory officially became worldwide. Newton County takes pride in providing opportunities that elevate our students onto the world stage, leaving an indelible mark on the international community."