August 14, 2009

VSU Marching Band to Play at Jaguars' Halftime Show

VALDOSTA - The Valdosta State University Blazin’ Brigade Marching Band will perform a halftime show Saturday, Aug. 22, in Jacksonville as the Jaguars take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7:30 p.m.

More than 50,000 people are expected to fill the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, where the 145-member band will entertain fans with American rock band Journey’s songs, including “Stone in Love,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Lights,” and “Anyway You Want It.”

“This is by far the largest crowd we have ever played since I have been here, and I am pretty sure in the history of VSU band,” said Eric Bradshaw, who has directed the VSU marching band for the past seven years. “It is wonderful for our students to experience the energy of playing in front of such a large live audience, and it is great exposure for VSU.”

Bradshaw, who submitted a video and theme suggestions to the Jaguars in the spring, said returning band members and 60 new recruits are eagerly awaiting the start of band practice in mid-August. Although band members have been practicing music on their own, the group will have only 10 days to practice as a full band prior to the nearly 7-minute halftime show.

“Students will have to adjust to the variances in sound because the Jaguars’ stadium is enclosed, and we will have to make the adjustment from college hash marks to professional ones,” said Bradshaw, who played in the University of Alabama marching band. “We will have to revert back to college hash marks when we come back and perform the show at VSU games. I am confident in their adaptability, though.”

The August 22 preseason game will not be televised, but VSU band enthusiasts will be able to experience the Journey halftime show during the first half of the VSU Football season. Bradshaw said the Blazin’ Brigade will feature a Broadway musicals halftime show the second half of the season.

“The students are so excited because most of them have never been to a professional football game, let alone played at one,” Bradshaw said. “It will be a fun trip and a great way for the new members of the band to bond with the rest of the group.”

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