Super Bowl Super Bands

Photo courtesy of the Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm

Professional football’s biggest event once again showcased marching bands. The Super Bowl halftime show performed by The Black Eyed Peas featured members of the Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm, and a Chevrolet commercial featured the Cajon High School band from San Bernardino, Calif.

“It’s the biggest stage and biggest venue that a band could play for,” says Dr. William F. McQueen III, head band director at Prairie View. “The Super Bowl is seen across the country and around the world by hundreds of millions of viewers. This platform affords Prairie View A&M University and The Marching Storm the opportunity to be viewed by high school students across America.”

Former Prairie View drum major and actor/dancer/choreographer Jimmy R.O. Smith worked on the show and sixty band members traveled to Arlington, Texas, to perform. Next up for Prairie View: A performance with pop music duo Sleigh Bells at the mtvU Woodie Awards on March 16. In other Super Bowl news, 16 members of the Cajon band appeared in a Chevrolet commercial filmed over two long days at a dealership where the character “Bumblebee” from the “Transformers” films makes an appearance, thanks to CGI effects.

“It was repetitive but fun, actually doing the running and pretending there was an actual robot there,” says Sebastian Fernandez, a senior baritone sax player. “We just pretended Bumblebee was there, and they told us what to do.”

The students were interviewed and chosen by casting directors. Due to strict child labor regulations, the participating students could have no grades lower than a “C” and had to open child actor savings accounts to receive payment.

Fernandez plans to reward himself with an iPod but save the rest for college. “It was a very fun experience, and it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be on the TV—for the Super Bowl especially,” he says.

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

Q&A With Ed Argenziano

Q&A with percussionist Ed Argenziano with Dennis DeLucia. From Halftime Magazine, a print publication and online community about the marching arts.