Marching Chieftains heading for bowl
The Tonganoxie High School Marching Chieftains probably caught a case of the blues beginning today.
But THS members are far from being depressed.
The band left early this morning for Memphis, Tenn., a hot spot for blues music that also is the site of the Liberty Bowl, at which the band will perform Friday.
Band director Charles VanMiddlesworth II is taking his group to the Volunteer State to perform at halftime of the bowl game. In addition, the band will perform in the bowl parade, which will be judged.
The band's itinerary will begin today with visits to Graceland, which is the former home of Elvis Presley, Hard Rock Cafe and the Liberty Bowl Rodeo at the Agricenter Show Place Arena.
The "big competition day," VanMiddlesworth said, will be Thursday, when the band will march in parade and field show competitions. The parade will run along Beal Street, which the band director said "is going to be awesome."
Band members will attend an awards ceremony Thursday night to find out how they fared in the competitions.
VanMiddlesworth said he was unsure how many high school bands would be participating. He said about 10 bands usually perform at bowl games.
On Friday, the band will rehearse music for the Liberty Bowl halftime show. Bands will rehearse with country artist LeAnn Rimes, who will be the featured performer at halftime.
And on Saturday, band member will participated in a jazz band clinic, before heading back to Tonganoxie. The band should return late Saturday.
"We're ready," VanMiddlesworth said last week. "We're ready to go perform."
Friday's game will pit Houston (10-3) of Conference USA against South Carolina (7-5) of the Southeastern Conference. The game, set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Liberty Bowl Stadium, will be televised on ESPN. VanMiddlesworth said it's possible viewers would catch a glimpse of the Chieftains on national television during halftime, but he said it likely would be brief.
"I think it would maybe be a quick flash," he said, noting that he thought ESPN would not televise the entire halftime show. "Maybe a little clip. But it won't be much because the announcers like to talk about football. I'd rather talk about the halftime shows, but that's all right."
This will be the Tonganoxie band's second trip to Memphis. The Marching Chieftains also attended the 2002 Liberty Bowl. The group also has traveled twice to Texas for bowls: 2004 to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl and 2000 to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.