Cherokee High band to march in Sugar Bowl
by Jordan McPherson
jmcpherson@cherokeetribune.com
December 29, 2012 12:00 AM | 4013 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The Cherokee High School Band of Warriors is heading to New Orleans to play during halftime Wednesday night at the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and Louisville Cardinals.

The band will leave from the high school in Canton on Sunday and returning Thursday after the performance.

Band Director Garrick Cheyne said he is excited for the opportunity to see his students play at such a large venue.

“We applied months ago with videos of our recent performances,” he said. “I am thrilled with the band’s preparation and believe they will represent Cherokee County well.”

The band, which has 120 total members and 90 going on the trip to New Orleans, has practiced tirelessly for the Sugar Bowl, Cheyne said.

“We rehearsed the halftime music in class the last two weeks of school before the holidays,” Cheyne said. “We also had two after-school rehearsals to remember the halftime show, which we spent many hours learning during football season, but had not practiced in a while.”

The band will be performing the halftime show with about a dozen other high school bands from around the country, but will participate in two performances before the big night.

“The first (performance) is a competition against the other bands in which we will perform our halftime show,” Cheyne said. “The second is a series of street performances in the French Market.”

Drum majors Bekkie Murphy, a senior, and Aaron Powell, a junior, said they are proud to lead the band in front of the crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“It feels great because the band deserves to show what it can do,” Powell said. “We put tons of hard work into our show this year and it is an excellent opportunity to show it to hundreds of people.”

After being a member of the band for three years, Powell needed only one word to describe the band: Growth.

“I feel over the past few years of skillful leadership under the direction of Mr. Cheyne, our band has grown both in talent and number,” he said. “This band gets bigger and better each year and I can’t wait to see what will happen at the Sugar Bowl, next year, and in future trips to come for the band.”

In addition to playing at the Sugar Bowl, the band will also have the opportunity to participate in additional activities around New Orleans, which include seeing the New Year’s Fireworks at Mardi Gras World, going on a steam boat dinner cruise on New Year’s Day and touring the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

This year, in addition to playing at all 10 of Cherokee’s football games and their upcoming presentation in Louisiana, the Cherokee High School band also participated in Canton’s Riverfest, a plethora of local parades, the county marching exhibition at River Ridge High School, and marching band contests at Sprayberry High School in Marietta and Chestatee High School in Gainesville.

The band placed second out of the 11 bands in their division at Chestatee and received superior ratings, which is the highest possible, in all four areas of judging - band, percussion, color guard and drum majors.

“This was the first time the band had accomplished this in a number of years,” Cheyne said.

The Sugar Bowl will be aired on ESPN on Wednesday and starts at 8:30 pm.
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