Daily American Sunday Editor
November 10, 2012
The Berlin Brothersvalley High School marching band isn't used to playing for a crowd of 80,000-plus.
But that is about to change as the band prepares to participate in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Georgia on New Year's Eve. The game is the matchup between the second-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference and the fifth-ranked Southeastern Conference teams.
Band director Brett Tozer said in 2000 the band traveled to Orlando, Fla., for a competition, but this was the first time he is aware of that the band would be participating in a bowl game. The band, which includes students from seventh to 12th grade, will be part of the parade before the game and play with more than 1,000 other students during the halftime performance in the Georgia Dome.
"It's exciting because all of the hard work now is going to be rewarded," he said.
At the end of last year the band received a letter asking to submit a tape for consideration. In February they found they were selected to participate.
"A lot of them were excited, but mostly nervous," Tozer said about students.
It costs more than $27,000 to send the band. To help offset costs the band held some unique fundraisers by setting up booths at the Berlin Block Party and Whiskey Rebellion, Tozer said. He added that the band boosters also helped raise funds. Of the 45 kids in the band, 28 kids will be attending.
During the half-time show the Berlin band will perform pop songs such as "Party Rock Anthem" and "Moves Like Jagger."
Leading the band will be drum major senior Catelyn Hittie of Berlin. Hittie said she has downloaded the songs they will be performing and has been practicing conducting them in her spare time to help prepare for the event. She said it will be fun to perform with the bigger schools that were also invited to the bowl game.
"It's really exciting but also very nerve-racking," she said.
She has friends in other band programs in Somerset County who told her they wish they were going.
"It's my last year and I get to go out with a big bang," she said.
Hittie, a trombone player, said she was also grateful for the American Legion in Berlin who purchased new pants for the band to wear in Georgia.
Hittie said the Berlin's band has grown in numbers and as musicians over the past several years and she is happy to see her fellow band mates get rewarded for all of their hard work.
"It just shows how much we've grown," she said.
The band will leave for Georgia on Dec. 28
Tozer said he wanted to thank the school board and people who contributed to their fundraisers for helping to make the trip a reality.
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