Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TOP STORY >> Drummers march at bowl game

Leader staff writer

North Pulaski High School band drummers Nathan Crews and Brandan Beard returned from a once-in-a-lifetime experience playing drums in front of a national audience at the football championship game in Miami.

The two seniors were part of the all-star invitational marching band that performed during halftime between Alabama and Notre Dame last week.

Crews said, “It was awesome. We went down there for seven days. Coming from 30 degrees to 80 degrees was quite a change.”

Beard said, “The weather was great. We were able to get away from the cold, freezing weather.”

The marching band had four days of eight-hour practices before performing on Jan. 7.

During the pregame ceremonies all-star band members held the large American flag during the national anthem. They then played in two different shows during halftime.

If you think they got to watch Alabama whip up on Notre Dame during the game, you are mistaken. Beard said after they held the flag, the band went from the stadium back to their buses. They waited until near the end of the second quarter, when they got their instruments ready and walked back into the stadium. After performing, it was back to buses to return to the motel.

Beard said they were able to see a little of the game before halftime as they stood behind the Alabama football team on the sidelines.

But they weren’t there to watch a football game, they were there to perform for the huge crowd.

Crews said the first song was performed by the 150 all-star band members. During the second song, another high school band of 50 members joined them.

Crews said, “It was crazy, about 80,000 people. It was a lot different than the 400 people tops at a North Pulaski home game. The stadium, hearing the roar; it was breathtaking going into the crowd.”

Beard said, “It was pretty awesome. A once-in-a-lifetime experience to perform in front of that many people. Breathtaking, walking into the stadium hearing the crowd roar as you’re performing. Them looking at you was really exciting,” Beard said.

Crews said the band members all had a positive attitude because they wanted to be there. The band directors were from Arizona State and Notre Dame. Since they direct college bands, they had high expectations for the high school students.

Beard said it was a little bit different from playing in the high school band. The all-star band had more experience and made more use of the time and progressing faster.

The drum line was twice the size of North Pulaski’s.

The college band directors put more responsibility on the students. They assumed and expected the students to know how to march and play the music.

Beard said, “I also got to meet the Notre Dame and Alabama marching bands as well, pretty awesome.”

He expects to be in a college drum line soon. He was able to see how a college band operates and get a feel for what is ahead for him.

Crews said, “The pep rally of both teams was crazy.”

He said it was on the beach with about 7,000 people for Notre Dame’s rally and around 500 to 1,000 people for Alabama’s rally.

Beard said, “It was pretty awesome, had a great time, met new people I’m still keeping in contact with; a great experience.”

Beard said the people made it a great time. He met a lot of people that he has a lot in common. They had to work as team to make it work.

Beard said, “Even the directors and instructors were understanding. They helped if we needed assistance and took the time to actually help us in order to make us as good and successful as we needed to be.”

Crews said, “I learned to accept each other as friends and to work with each other. I learned some new skills and techniques that I can further my (band) career with.”

Crews was appreciative for those who helped out with paying for the trip. Beard said, “Thank you for everyone’s donations and support.”