SHS band Sugar Bowl bound

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 16, 2013

Straughn High School will be one of 15 high school bands performing at the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl, come Jan. 2.

SHS band director Will Parker said the combined 15 bands will have only two rehearsals to practice getting on and off the field and performing the music that will be chosen by the directors of the mass ensemble. The students will learn the music for the halftime show before they travel.

“We’ll be performing in front of 72,000 people!” he said.

Parker was notified by email recently that Straughn had been chosen. It is not an honor for which SHS made application.

“I received an email from Marina Burnside who works with the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl stating: ‘Congratulations Straughn High School Band, you have been selected as one of 15 bands to participate in BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl!’ ” Parker said. “I never sent any kind of information to them trying be invited, so this was a total shock to me!”

He immediately contacted SHS administrators and members of the school’s band boosters. They were all in.

Last year, SHS marched 65 members, and Parker is projecting almost 100 students in the fall of 2013.

Financially, it will cost each student/parent about $1,100 to make the trip, which will last from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4. The group will take chartered buses to New Orleans, and have accommodations at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside.

Already, fundraising efforts are being planned. Parker said car washes, competitions, and giveaways are being planned.

“There are so many opportunities for the community to come and help support the students and help us to be able to represent Covington County and all of Andalusia and this event,” Parker said. “This is a true testament for what these students have done and the hard work pays off! I have always told my students that if they work hard and are dedicated to do the best that they can, they will succeed, that they will receive notice.  From the invitation, it reflects that hard work truly does pay off!”

Parker expressed his thanks to SHS principal Shannon Driver, and administrators in the Covington County School System for allowing the band to participate.

“Most importantly, I want to say ‘thank you’ to the students for all of their hard work and dedication throughout the year,” he said. “Words can not begin to express my gratitude to everyone for all of their support and love that they have shown to me and to this wonderful band program.”