Nearly half of Farragut High School’s Marching Admirals took part in the trip of a lifetime during the Christmas/New Years break, culminating in performing with hundreds of other band students during halftime of the ReliaQuest Bowl in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seven chaperones accompanied 88 instrument players and 11 color guard members in two chartered busses, who left Farragut early Thursday, Dec. 28, and returned Tuesday, Jan. 3.
The group had fun, visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Busch Gardens and Topgolf — but worked hard, too, practicing with other musicians and performers in preparation for bowl game festivities (Illinois of the Big Ten versus Mississippi State from the SEC) Monday, Jan. 2.
It had been five years since the FHS band had been able to take a trip, the last two because of the pandemic, band director Kenneth Carrico III said.
“We wanted to give the students a great experience, and this was a trip I had done in the past,” he said. “We received an e-mail (last school year) asking if we would like to participate, and I contacted a travel agency I like to use
“I was so glad we were able to finally pull this trip off.”
Photos and social media posts indicated all those attending had quite a blast.
“It was the coolest thing ever,” said lead chaperone Tina Fox, who was joined on the trip by her husband, Brian Fox, and their son, FHS senior trumpet player Mason Fox5 “Not just the trip itself, which was great, but the performance, too.
“There were 2,000 people on the field — they went from goalpost to goalpost,” she added. “There were nine different schools from nine different states — 510 musicians and 800 dancers. It was very impressive, and the kids did a great job.”
Fox said student instrumentalists received their music, and dancers received video directives “before Christmas break,” then had two days of practice before the halftime bowl event.
“We were all really honored to be part of that experience,” she added.
FHS band students also had been scheduled to perform in the Tampa New Year’s Eve parade, but the parade was cancelled due to threatened bad weather at the last minute.
The trip capped an outstanding season for the Marching Admirals, with many competition award wins for their efforts.
“The kids had an incredible year — this was just the cherry on top,” Fox said.