By Emily Younker
DIAMOND, Mo. —
Classes were winding down last week at Diamond High School, but not for members of the marching band.
Instead, they dug out some new music and began their first rehearsals in preparation for their next major appearance — the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, which is scheduled for Dec. 31 in Memphis, Tenn.
“I’m really excited,” senior drum major Ashley Palmer said. “This is the first time I’ve ever gone on a big trip with this band.”
The band was selected last fall to participate in this year’s Liberty Bowl, a trip that band director Micah Martin had taken three years ago while serving as band director at another Missouri school district. When his Diamond students told him that they wanted to take a trip to perform in a bigger venue, he used his prior experience to suggest the Liberty Bowl.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Martin said of the trip for his 30-student band. “I think it’ll bring them closer together. It’s an experience that only this group of kids will share.”
While in Memphis over the course of about five days, the band will perform in the bowl parade down Beale Street, the halftime show during the football game and a field show competition. Band members will also take in the sights of Memphis, possibly including Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum and a Gibson guitar factory.
Martin said band members will hit their rehearsals hard beginning with band camp at the end of July, when they will work on their field show, a medley of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits. They will receive the music for the bowl’s halftime show sometime in September or October, Martin said.
Students have already begun working to raise the approximately $30,000 needed to cover the cost of the trip. They have sold candy bars, pizzas, value cards and have held car washes, but Martin said more is still needed.
Christopher Rigdon, a junior who plays the trumpet and is part of the color guard, said he expects the band’s fundraising efforts to be worth it in the end.
“A lot of us enjoy being together as a social group, so the fundraising is fun,” he said.
Contributions for the high school band’s trip to the Liberty Bowl can be sent to Micah Martin, c/o Diamond High School, 401 S. Main St., Diamond, MO 64840. Information is also available at facebook.com/diamondmusicdepartment