Thursday, December 6, 2007

San Marcos marching band to play Orange Bowl


With a gold medal from the state championships under their belts, the members of the San Marcos High School Marching Band are preparing to head off to Miami to perform during the Orange Bowl.

The Royals will participate in a field show competition along with nine other bands from across the country, later merging with those bands to perform together during the football game’s halftime show.
“This is probably the biggest project the marching band has done for sure,” band co-director Dan Garske said. “We’ve never gone across the country like that or performed in any event as big as the Orange Bowl.”
Last Saturday, the band traveled to Murietta, Calif., to compete in the state championships, a prestigious event that has treated the San Marcos crew pretty well in recent years.
“We’ve been pretty consistent,” co-director Jason Nam said. “The championships is basically a culmination of the season in our competition circuit. Only the highest-scoring bands get invited, so it’s an honor to even go to championships.”
Two years ago, the Royals brought home the gold. Last year, they managed a second-place finish. Last Saturday, they returned to glory by grabbing top honors.
Both San Marcos High School alumni, Garske and Nam have led their students through 90-minute practices every day — with three-hour Tuesday night sessions — since June, prepping for the fall season and the Orange Bowl performance.
Since getting the official invite in March, Nam said the students have been pretty jazzed about getting to strut their stuff in front of tens of thousands of fans.
“They seem really excited and the whole season has been pretty much building up to this trip,” he said. “They’re definitely very excited at the prospect of going and performing in front of all those people.”
In addition to preparing on the field, the students have been staying busy off the field, fundraising for the transcontinental trek to Florida. Hardly a cheap venture, the cross-country trip will cost about $1,650 per student.
“We started to get going as soon as we could,” Garske said. “We’re really close. We’ve got about $10,000 left to go.”
The Royals will be holding one last car wash on Sunday at the gas station on Turnpike Road and Hollister Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Silent auctions, donations and previous car washes have already brought in more than $100,000.
The remaining ten grand is about as much as it will take to ship instruments and equipment across the United States in the band’s semi trailer.
“It’s something we face when we do these long trips,” Garske said, explaining that a couple of ex-band fathers will pilot the semi on the 2,800-mile journey.
The band itself, 59 members strong, will take a red-eye flight leaving December 29 and arriving in Miami at around 8 a.m. the following day. After settling in and enjoying a New Year’s Eve party courtesy of the Orange Bowl organizers, the band will face off in a field show competition to determine which lucky group gets the honor of providing pre-game entertainment to the 72,500 fans expected to attend.
“It’s an experience that these kids will never forget,” Nam said.
Their field show, titled “Journey of Dreams,” features original music by Lozell Henderson, who is in charge of the band’s percussion section. Even if they don’t make the cut for the pre-game show, the Royals will take to the field during halftime following guest artist ZZ Top.
“We’ll all combine to do a mass marching band performance of a ZZ Top tune,” Garske said, estimating about 700 and 1,000 students will take part in the show.
“We’re all looking forward to a great trip,” he said, “and I’m sure the kids are going to remember this one for a long time.”

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