THS band tuning up for bowl trip
Mr. Van and his merry band are packing their bags for a post-Christmas trip to a city rich in music history.
Elvis' hometown will be the venue for the Tonganoxie High Marching Chieftains starting Dec. 28.
The band, under the direction of Charles VanMiddlesworth, will travel to Memphis, Tenn., to perform as part of Liberty Bowl festivities. After departing at 2 a.m. Dec. 28 from Tonganoxie, the band will make the10-hour trip to Tennessee.
Once the band arrives in Memphis, the schedule will get hectic. At 2 p.m. Dec. 29, band members will compete in a field show competition with other high school bands at Cordova High School in Memphis. At this point, just three bands are slated to compete, VanMiddlesworth said.
If Tonganoxie wins the competition, they will perform the pregame show for the Liberty Bowl game between Texas Christian (9-2) and Colorado State (10-3). The game will be televised at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 31 on ESPN (Channel 48 for Sunflower Broadband subscribers).
VanMiddlesworth likes the band's odds of being the pregame performers.
"Certainly I like our chances," he said.
About eight bands by invitation only will join Tonganoxie in a parade Dec. 30 and at the halftime show featuring country music artist Clint Black on Dec. 31. Other bands at the event will come from Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Ohio and Arizona.
The chance to perform with a top singer doesn't come along often, the THS band director said.
"The cool thing is that the kids actually get to perform with Clint Black," he said. "Anytime you have the opportunity to perform with a major performing star, that's pretty exciting."
Tonganoxie will play a James Bond-themed march for its field show, the same scheme it used during THS football game halftime shows. During a concert Thursday, the band modeled the evening after what their Liberty Bowl performance will be. The members even performed the James Bond march in the THS gymnasium.
The Chieftains are stretching their musical repertoire.
"We're really having to perform a different style of music with country," VanMiddlesworth said. "We're getting the opportunity to perform in musical keys we don't usually perform in with a lot of sharps."
The band, which has 58 students, is eager to make its trek to the Volunteer State.
"We're just ready to go," VanMiddlesworth said.