For the first time in school history, the Poland Seminary High School marching band will perform at a Bowl Championship Series game.
The high-school band will join others from around the country during halftime of the Jan. 9 BCS National Championship game in New Orleans.
Band director Nick Olesko said he contacted organizers of the BCS halftime performance, and those organizers did a “background check” to see how well the band performs and how its members conduct themselves.
“We got good recommendations,” he said.
The students won’t receive the music for the performance until December, and they will be expected to have it memorized by the time they arrive in New Orleans on Jan. 6, Olesko said.
Once there, Poland students will join with other bands and learn drills for the halftime show, he said.
Olesko said 180 students are in the marching band, and he hopes that the majority will be able to attend.
The trip’s price tag for students is steep: $960 each.
Students are expected to raise money on their own for the trip, and the Poland Band Parents have organized several fundraisers to help them, including a pasta dinner last weekend and an ongoing fruit sale.
“We’re really proud of these kids. ...They are working hard to earn this money,” said Lori Mowad, who is in charge of the fruit sale.
Oranges and grapefruit are available for less than $20; and gift boxes average about $25, she said.
Students also are selling cheesecake, which ranges in price from $11.50 to $17.
The deadline for orders is Wednesday and the produce will be ready for pick-up Dec. 10, Mowad said. Orders are being taken by band students, but those who don’t know anyone in band can contact Mowad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All the money goes directly to the kids to use for the trip,” she said.
“It’s the very first time they’ve been invited to go to a bowl game. That’s pretty fabulous considering how many schools have marching bands in the country.”
The band has performed at Youngstown State University football games, the Apple Blossom Parade in Virginia and Walt Disney World in Florida.