The Smith-Cotton Tiger Pride Marching Band had some extra baggage to pack for its trip home Tuesday from the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
The band won nine first-place trophies for its parade and field performances over the weekend, but the biggest honor for some of the musicians was the opportunity to share the field at halftime of the bowl game with the legendary Temptations. In a quirk of circumstance, the band’s marching show this season carried a Motown theme and included the Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”
Clarinet section leader Jessica Bergman, a senior, said: “Performing with the Temptations was awesome. It was really amazing to perform with such an influential group, and I really enjoyed it.”
Grant Maledy, director of instrumental music for Sedalia School District 200, said S-C was the only band in attendance that took part in the parade and field competitions, as well as the concert band and jazz band seminars. He said the feedback the students received in the concert and jazz clinics will be valuable as the bands prepare for upcoming performances.
In looking at plaques from previous years, Maledy said this was at least the fifth bowl appearance for a band from S-C, but the first time it brought home first-place awards — “at least for as far back as I have plaques.”
The band’s parade performance earned top honors for marching and maneuvering; general effect; music; guard; and percussion; its field performance was rated best in its class for guard; marching and maneuvering; general effect; and music.
The students got to Memphis on Friday and attended a rodeo that evening. Saturday included the marching competition and a rehearsal for the halftime show that included nine bands composed of 1,300 musicians; a walk through the parade route on Beale Street led to dinner at the Hard Rock Café. The parade was Sunday, with 35,000 people lining the route.
“It was a crazy, rowdy crowd,” Maledy said. “But they listened to the music and paid attention. ... It was a great opportunity to perform for a big crowd.”
Sunday evening was the awards dinner, with an early call Monday for a final rehearsal for the halftime show.
“We did the halftime performance and it was just fantastic,” Maledy said. “It is a really neat thing for their resumé to say they performed with the Temptations.”
The trip also featured the debut of the band’s new uniforms, which feature striking black-and-gold jackets and 16-inch-tall plumes atop their shako-style hats.
“I really like the new uniforms. They are a nice step up from our old ones,” Bergman said.
She said the students put in a lot of work to prepare for the Memphis trip, which included practice time during class and every Thursday night. They also had to raise money for the trip, and Maledy was thankful for the efforts of El Tapatio and McCarthy Toyota, among others who provided financial support.
“We could not have done it without the community’s support,” he said. “I feel like the kids did a really good job of representing the community.”
Maledy said it likely would be a couple of years before the band takes a similar trip, but he is more than pleased with how this adventure turned out.
“We thought there would be a lot of great opportunities for the kids to learn there, and there was some awesome stuff,” he said. “We are trying to make sure we keep offering opportunities without doing it every year” due to the costs involved.
The experience was more than memorable for Bergman.
“It was really crazy, really cool to see all those people come out” for the parade and bowl game, she said. “It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life.”