Ian, Donna and Daniel Velasquez hold a banner that says "We're on the Gus Bus!" as the Auburn Tigers football team leaves the Montgomery Airport on Tuesday for the BCS National Championship in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 6.
Ian, Donna and Daniel Velasquez hold a banner that says "We're on the Gus Bus!" as the Auburn Tigers football team leaves the Montgomery Airport on Tuesday for the BCS National Championship in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 6.

Archived Story

Band students with local ties to perform at Rose Bowl

Published 5:23pm Friday, January 3, 2014

When the Auburn Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles square off in the college football BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., several Chilton County natives will be instrumental in making sure the excitement and noise levels in the stadium are high.

Ian Velasquez, Schylar McBride and Heather Foshee are among about 380 Auburn University students in the AU Marching Band traveling to Pasadena early Saturday morning to prepare for their appearance at the Rose Bowl on Monday.

In addition, Jemison native Drake Anderson is listed on Seminoles.com, the official athletic site of Florida State University, as the student currently portraying Chief Osceola, the well-known Seminole Indian leader, who charges down the football field riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade and plants a flaming spear in midfield at the start of every FSU home game.

Osceola and Renegade are part of one of college football’s most recognized pre-game traditions.

Along with their band mates and director, Dr. Corey Spurlin, Velasquez, McBride and Foshee will leave Auburn on buses at about 4 a.m. Saturday for the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, where they will board planes at about 8 a.m. to fly to Los Angeles.

Heather Foshee (far left) and fellow Auburn University Majorettes stand in the Georgia Dome before the SEC Championship football game Dec. 7.
Heather Foshee (far left) and fellow Auburn University Majorettes stand in the Georgia Dome before the SEC Championship football game Dec. 7.

Velasquez, a 19-year-old sophomore who plays the tuba, said this is his first time to perform with the band at a national championship game.

“I think it is just a great opportunity to be able to go to this,” Velasquez said on Friday. “I hope that there’s more opportunities we can do more stuff like this. I just really can’t wait to be down there.”

Velasquez performed at all of Auburn’s home games this season, as well as the LSU and Tennessee games and the Southeastern Conference Championship game in Atlanta.

Velasquez is a 2012 graduate of Chilton County High School, where he served as drum major his junior and senior years. He is the son of Daniel and Donna Velasquez of Verbena.

Foshee and McBride are Jemison High School graduates.

Foshee, a freshman, is an AU majorette. McBride, a senior, is a tuba player.

Once in California, Velasquez said the AU Marching Band’s itinerary includes visiting Hollywood Boulevard, having their annual band banquet and rehearsing at Glendale Community College prior to Monday’s game at 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.

“We’re supposed to rehearse Monday morning before the game,” Velasquez said. “We’re doing the same halftime show that we did for the Iron Bowl.”

Velasquez referred to his band’s halftime show as a “musical show,” with songs like “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, “Grease Lightning” from Grease and “At the End of the Day” and “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.

Velasquez said he is more excited than nervous about performing in such a large venue for live and TV audiences.

“The first time I did it, I was so scared,” he said. “But now, being in my second year, you get such an adrenaline rush from all these people cheering and just knowing you’re a part of that gets you excited.”

Schyler McBride plays his tuba as a member of the Auburn University Marching Band.
Schylar McBride plays his tuba as a member of the Auburn University Marching Band.

Velasquez and his parents attended a reverse Tiger Walk in Montgomery on Tuesday as a send-off for Auburn’s football team and coaches headed to Pasadena.

Although Velasquez’s parents won’t be at the national championship game, they plan to watch with pride as their son and his fellow Chilton Countians cheer their team on through music.

“I think it just shows that we do have very good talent in the arts in this county and how much we need to support the performing arts,” Donna Velasquez said. “I’m just so proud of all of them. [Ian’s] dad and I always wanted him to go out and see this world, and these are some of the things we dreamed for him.”

The VIZIO BCS National Championship can be viewed live via ESPN’s “BCS Megacast” presentations, which will start with a simulcast of ESPN’s BCS National Championship pregame show at 7 p.m. CST across ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and ESPN3.

Audio and digital coverage will be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN.com and ESPN’s social media platforms.

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