Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
WEST ORANGE —
Members of the West Orange-Stark High School Marching Band will celebrate New Year’s in style.
The West Orange-Stark High School Marching Band has been selected to join several other marching bands from across the United States to participate in a half-time performance during the Sugar Bowl football game on Jan. 2, 2014, in New Orleans, La. The game will feature perennial college powers Alabama vs. Oklahoma.
According to Ray Lavan, the West Orange-Stark High School band director, this has been a goal for the program since his arrive eight years ago.
“I’ve tried to get us a bowl invitation since I arrived,” Lavan said. “And we finally received an invitation to perform this past May, way before anyone even knew who would be in the game. It’s a great thing for our kids and it really says something about the program.”
A total of 13 high school marching bands from across the U.S. will participate in the Sugar Bowl half-time extravaganza, including West Orange-Stark High School which is the only band from the state of Texas invited.
Lavan said approximately one-half of the marching band will be making the trip to New Orleans for the event, as well as an additional performance in the French Quarter.
“Roughly one-half of the band is making the trip,” Lavan said. “The students and their parents had to raise money for the trip, which comes about to about $820 per student.”
Lavan said there is no guarantee of the half-time performance being shown on television, but it is still an opportunity the students will always remember.
“The Sugar Bowl staff will take care of the performance arrangements when we get there,” Lavan explained. “They sent us the music we will march to at half-time, which is a medley of songs by The Beatles. The students have been preparing for this and are excited.”
The band students will leave Orange County on Monday, Dec. 30, and return on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.