MCHS band a part of Outback Bowl
By Stephanie Johns
Members of the Morgan County High School (MCHS) Marching Band earned the honor of performing at the Outback Bowl in January.
According to Jeffrey Rowser, MCHS Band Director, the band was invited to complete an application and submit a video of one of their performances.
They were accepted and, after receiving permission from the Board of Education, prepared for their trip.
Sophomore and trumpeter Paul Keilman said they spent just about every day in class working on their show music.
When the time was right 104 band members boarded charter buses and headed south to Florida.
How would you like to go to sleep on a bus and wake up at Disney World? That’s exactly what happened to band members.
They left on a Friday night and more than six hours later arrived at the amusement park. They spent the day there before traveling to Tampa.
The second day of their trip the jazz band took third place at a performance. They received gold division rating, which Rowser said means ‘superior.’
Later on that day they visited a Manatee observation station before going to Clearwater, Fla. for a beach barbeque.
Back at the hotel they had a choice of going swimming in the indoor pool or socializing.
Game day arrived and 14 bands from across the U.S. from Chicago to Toledo had the privilege of taking the field at halftime during the game.
Roswer said there were 2,500 students on the field for the halftime performance.
“It was fabulous halftime music,” he said, noting that the music had a beach theme.
The medley included such songs as “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
The beach-themed songs were followed by an Armed Forces salute.
They rehearsed for three hours that day then headed out to a Tampa mall. That evening they performed in the New Year’s Eve parade. They took third place and won gold division, or superior.
“The crowd was so fantastic, so energized,” he said.
After the parade they went to Busch Gardens for an awards ceremony and New Year’s party.
The next morning they rehearsed for one hour before heading to the game.
Freshman Erik Cruz, who plays alto saxophone, said MCHS band members had their music memorized for the performance, unlike students in some of the other bands.
Keilman said it was a really good game. The band had seats in the upper stands toward the Michigan end of the field.
Color guard member Mary Win Ligon, a freshman, said overall, it was really fun and a cool experience.
“We got to see and experience things we wouldn’t normally get to in Morgan County,” she said.
Cruz said he enjoyed hanging out with band friends as well as meeting new friends.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “I hope we get to do something like that again.”
Rowser said he hopes to travel with the band once every 12 to 14 months.
Printed in the February 21 edition.