DeKALB – Northern Illinois University isn’t the only DeKalb school going to a bowl game this year.
The DeKalb High School Marching Band will be playing in the halftime show of the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Wednesday in New Orleans. Misty Haji-Sheikh, who will be joining her son Merrick on the trip as a chaperone, said DeKalb’s ability to be represented in two bowl games is a nice accomplishment.
“It’s so unique to see us represented in two bowl games,” Haji-Sheikh said. “We might be the only city in the U.S. who can say that.”
Steve Lundin, director of the Marching Barbs, said 93 of the program’s 115 students will be participating in the four-day trip to New Orleans.
Lundin and the program’s students will be traveling Sunday to New Orleans. On Monday, they will be participating in a marching band competition with the other bands playing in the Sugar Bowl. The winner of that competition will play in the Sugar Bowl’s opening.
On Tuesday, the students will begin rehearsing for the Sugar Bowl, as well as doing some sightseeing and having dinner on a steamboat, Lundin said. The band trip will wrap up Wednesday with another rehearsal, another sightseeing tour and the Sugar Bowl.
“Excitement is one of many emotions I have,” Lundin said. “Seeing the kids show up at 5 a.m. the day we’re leaving – seeing how fired up they are, is exciting.”
Ever since the band learned they were playing at the Sugar Bowl, its practice schedule has been different. Lundin said normally at this time, the band would be playing at basketball games.
“We were marching outside until the end of school,” Lundin said. “We were out on the football field going over our stuff. We’ve never been out that late.”
The band raised just more than $13,000 toward the cost of the trip. Lundin said each student had to pay about $750, but “it ends up costing less than if you end up traveling on your own.”
The 79th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl will see the Louisville Cardinals take on the Florida Gators. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Marching Barbs will be playing with other bands on the Superdome field at the same time. The different bands will play “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, “I Don’t Care” by Fall Out Boy, and “I Don’t Wanna Stop” by Ozzy Osbourne.
While the game will be broadcast on ESPN, Lundin said he has cautioned parents that the halftime show might not be shown on TV.
“Very few networks air halftime shows anymore,” Lundin said. “I don’t think the halftime will be on ESPN. They may or may not [air it]. We don’t have a guarantee they will or they won’t.”
Haji-Sheikh and her husband, though, will be able to see their son and the others play on the field in front of 73,000 people.
“For us, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing,” Haji-Sheikh said.