2018-01-12 / Local News

Band of Gold takes on the Big Easy

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By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer

The Gaffney High Band of Gold marching band celebrated the New Year’s holiday by performing in a Mardi Gras-style parade through the French Quarter in New Orleans.

About 70 band members entertained fans in the AllState Sugar Bowl parade Dec. 31 before Clemson and Alabama faced off in a college football playoff game.

The Gaffney band appeared on national television during the parade with 11 high school bands from states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Delaware, Florida and South Carolina.

“The Sugar Bowl parade has become the official kickoff to the Mardi Gras season,” Gaffney High Band of Gold Director Billy Asis said. “One of our goals has always been to travel and give our students experience performing in different venues around the country to show our students where music can take them in careers. We stopped at different points along the parade and performed 20 different mini-concerts. The best part is our band were trendsetters in the parade for other bands.”

Gaffney High Band of Gold members traveled Dec. 29 to New Orleans. The band finished second in their division in the Sugar Bowl Field Show band competition Dec. 30 at West Jefferson High School.

Students were split into small groups and given time for sightseeing following the Sugar Bowl parade.

Activities chosen by students included drinking coffee and eating beignets (french doughnut pastry) at the famous Cafe Du Monde, attending jazz clubs to soak up the New Orleans jazz scene, visiting cemeteries and museums.

Gaffney High Band of Gold directors wrote new drills for this season’s show “Fences” for the high school students to perform during the marching band competition. On their final day, Gaffney joined other high school bands for a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball and dinner.

The Band of Gold typically plans a big education field trip every other year. In 2014, Gaffney band members participated in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington and went to Disney World two years ago.

“This was a great opportunity for our students to perform in the Sugar Bowl parade before one of the biggest college football games of the year,” Asis said.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience for our kids to play in New Orleans before large crowds from across the country. Some of our students want to go back to New Orleans when the Sugar Bowl hosts the national championship game. We will have to see.”

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