By Sue Moore
Vicksburg’s marching band, affectionately known as the “Big Red Machine,” will perform with eight other bands during halftime at the Sugar Bowl game in New Orleans on January 1. The top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC are scheduled to play in this game unless one or the other has been selected as a Top 4 in the college football playoffs.
Every two or three years, Band Director Ben Rosier likes to plan a trip out of state over the Christmas holidays, preferably to warmer weather. “These are the memories students take from high school as they are being “cultured” while experiencing life outside of Vicksburg,” Rosier said. “Only high-quality ensembles are asked to perform in these events. We will be stopping in Memphis on the way to New Orleans for our two jazz bands to perform at Alfred’s jazz club on Beale Street. Early Dawgs and Top Dawgs will play in one of the most famous places outside of New Orleans for jazz performances.
“We will perform with eight other bands for the halftime of the Sugar Bowl. Those bands are from Georgia (2), North Carolina, Alabama, Texas (3), and Kansas. We have the music and color guard choreography to practice. We have utilized the tutorial times at the high school to take advantage of group rehearsal times,” Rosier said. “We will also have a Natchez Dinner Cruise and attend a dance award ceremony for the participating bands where we will accept any awards from the competitions such as parade and field show.”
The half-time show will feature the women’s suffrage movement’s decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy. The halftime finale honors this 100-year anniversary and all those that worked so hard to make it happen. This select group of young musicians and dancers from across the United States will perform two iconic female superstars’ great hit songs highlighting the Women’s Suffrage 100th Celebration: Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off!”
Nearly 130 students out of 180 in the band will make the trip by motor coach over December 28 through January 2. They have raised the money themselves to make the trip along with the parent chaperones who will accompany them.
“We will do a community service project through Hands On New Orleans, which will be a great afternoon of revamping a park that has remained ‘dormant’ since the likes of Hurricane Katrina,” Rosier said. “When we went in 2010 the students talked about the community service project more than anything else and I’m excited to do that with them again.”