By MORGAN MANNS
Fostoria High School Redmen Pride Marching Band will be performing during the 2014 AutoZone Liberty Bowl halftime show in Memphis in December.
The band will leave Fostoria early in the morning on a date yet to be determined, and will spend four days and three nights in Memphis, performing, competing and participating in a variety of tourist endeavors.
“A couple of the kids, the furthest they said they’ve ever been from Fostoria is Toledo,” said Steve Kauffman, Redmen Pride Marching Band director. “They get to see the world a little bit and learn while having a good time.”
Kauffman said the band does not yet know what songs they will be playing for the halftime show, which is scheduled for day four of their trip; however, it will coincide with this year’s performing artist.
“At the game, we join with all the other bands that are down there and we serve as the back up for whatever the recording artist is doing,” he said, adding that previously, the Bowl has featured KC and the Sunshine Band and Taylor Hicks.
The game matches up teams from the SEC and the Big 12 Conferences and is broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. The Liberty Bowl Halftime features marching bands and dance teams from across the country.
Eight high school marching bands from all over the United States performed in the 2013 Liberty Bowl, according to Kauffman; however, he is not sure how many will perform this year.
Before they join the other bands, the Redmen Pride Marching Band must first compete with them. On day two of their trip, the band will compete in a Field Show Competition where they will play three songs of the director’s choosing and will be judged on their performance.
“We don’t get a lot of chances to interact with people from different places to see what the differences and similarities are,” Kauffman said. “I think it’s very important to get them out of town and to get good feedback from critics and judges, not just locally but nationally. It’s a chance to get more recognition for our school, our town and our program.”
The band will play the same songs during the Beale Street Parade on day three. They will then attend a dinner, dance and awards ceremony later that evening where their scores from their competition will be announced.
In their downtime, the group has a variety of activities scheduled, including a Graceland Platinum Tour, the Liberty Bowl Rodeo, sightseeing, shopping and meals at various restaurants throughout the area.
After the Bowl game, the band will attend a New Year’s Eve Party. This will be there last activity before returning for Fostoria.
“I thought going to a bowl game would be a good first trip because I think the community can relate and get excited to get to go to a college bowl game and be on ESPN,” he said. “The goal is to eventually do one of these every four years, so every kid that comes through will get one trip.”
The cost of the trip is roughly $700 per student, topping more than $40,000 total for the 64 students and the 10-12 chaperons, according to Kauffman. In order to ensure that all band members can participate, a variety of fundraising for the trip has already begun and will continue throughout 2014.
Currently, the band is selling geraniums and hanging baskets, as well as coupon books for Pizza Palace and Field of Dreams Drive Inn Movies in Tiffin.
The band will host a fundraiser in June when a company will come to the school and sell mattresses at a discounted price.
In addition, the Redmen Music Club is offering special incentives for individual and corporate donors.
For more information, to donate or participate in a fundraising event, contact Kauffman or Deb Rock, president of the Redmen Music Club, at 419-436-4110.
“It’ll be great to get them out of town to see some different things and to meet some different people,” Kauffman said. “It’ll be musically educating as well as a good time for the kids.”
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