PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Hollywood came to Pittsburg on Wednesday.
It was, quite possibly, the first time a marching band had ever performed on stage at Memorial Auditorium. It also was the first time nobody cared what the band looked like — only its sound.
About 150 current and former members of the Pittsburg State Pride of the Plains Marching Band recorded several songs at the auditorium and on the oval at PSU for an upcoming movie starring comedian-actor Will Ferrell.
“It’s our brush with fame,” cracked Doug Whitten, director of athletic bands at PSU. “It is very unusual for bands outside of California to get an opportunity like this. Honestly, I think it’s really cool.”
The opportunity came about because of Whitten’s longtime friendship with Chris Fogel, an award-winning film score mixer, recording engineer and producer. When the director of the film on which Fogel was working needed a college band sound, he turned to his old friend.
“We’ve been best friends since sixth grade on the West Coast, in Reno and in California,” Whitten said. “We ended up both moving away, but then wound up in the same high school together. We both were in band. I played tuba; he played trumpet.”
They attended the University of Nevada together and were in the same fraternity. In the early 1980s, they owned underground, alternative music dance clubs.
Whitten went on to become a university band director and joined the PSU Department of Music in 2003.
Fogel went on to work on more than 75 movies, including “Message in a Bottle,” “Fun with Dick and Jane,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Marley and Me,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.” He also has worked on dozens of albums with musicians including Quincy Jones, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Simple Minds and U2.