Marching band to honor first responders

September 9, 2011 5:43 AM

Fran Simon

When the Tulane University Marching Band takes the field in the Louisiana Superdome at a pregame show before the football game on Saturday (Sept. 10), 250 middle school and high school students from around the region will join in a tribute to first responders to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Color Guard

The color guard joins the Tulane University Marching Band, 70 members strong, for a special tribute in the pre-game show. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

A half hour before the 2:30 p.m. kickoff of the Green Wave vs. Tulsa game, New Orleans area firemen, policemen, national guardsmen and other first responders in uniform, who will be admitted free to the game, will stand on the field during a medley of patriotic music played in their honor. Also taking the field will be a fire truck given by New Orleans to New York after 9/11. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New York gave the fire truck back to New Orleans.

“It will be emotional,” predicts Barry Spanier, director of the marching band, of the third annual band day that will include marching bands and choirs from several secondary schools.

The marching band has hit its stride this year, Spanier says, with 70 members including two drum majors and a twirler. Half of the band members this year are new to the band: 32 first-year students and three sophomores who have joined. Band members have a variety of majors — not just music — including business, engineering, architecture and premed.

“We’ve matured as an organization,” Spanier says. “We have a talented, motivated and creative staff, and the students are showing more leadership. Our approach as a staff is to teach life skills and provide leadership opportunities through the medium of the marching band. We strive for excellence, spirit and energy for the community.”

For the October home football games, the band, color guard and Shockwave dance team will wear hot pink accessories in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. At the last game of the season on Nov. 10, in collaboration with the National WWII Museum, the band will present a special show to pay tribute to veterans.

Tulane University will fly all campus flags at half-staff on Sunday on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000