Members of the Newcomertown High School Marching Band are preparing for a trip to Orlando, Fla., Dec. 25 to Dec. 30 to perform in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The game, which will be Dec. 28 beginning at 6:45 p.m., will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN 3.
The band will be performing in the professionally arranged halftime show with hundreds of other musicians, dancers, and color guards, in one of our nation's most popular sports venues.
While the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals learned of their bowl trip a few weeks ago, the band has been preparing for this trip for over a year.
To pay for the trip, the Newcomerstown Music Boosters and youth had to raise more than $32,000 through fundraising efforts like pizza sales, car washes, cookbook sales and shirt sales.
Joel Hillwig, band director for Newcomerstown High, said this will be the first time his band will attend such an event in his four years working at the school.
"I am so excited to have the opportunity to take these kids on a trip of this magnitude. They truly deserve this amazing opportunity and I am honored to be the one taking them " Hillwig said. Hillwig said the band will perform three songs for the halftime show, including 'Dynamite"' by Taio Cruz and 'Disco Inferno' by The Trammps," Hillwig said. "Ever since we got through marching band season, we've been working on these songs to make us sound good and look good for television."
A total of 45 band members and 15 adult chaperones will depart on Christmas day. Rachel Hendricks, senior drummer, said, "This is a great opportunity for small town kids."
The band will take part in two rehearsals prior to the game performance. The band members are excited for the opportunity to play with the other musicians.
Lyssa Canales, first year band member, says it will, "be cool to work with the other bands."
In addition to performing at the halftime show, the band will get to spend time at nearby Universal Studios and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.
"It's going to be awesome," said senior saxophone player Matt Hursey.
Fellow senior Uniqua Russell, trombone player, added, "This will be a whole new experience"
"I am honestly super pumped for this," said Chase Hanby, sophomore drummer. "I've never been to anything like that before."