ADDISON - An honor few bands rarely receive will happen next April when Addison High School’s Bulldog Band takes their halftime show to Memphis, the birthplace of rock and roll and the blues.
The band will be playing at Graceland and touring the city over a three-day educational stay April 21-23. This year, the band is playing four Elvis Presley songs as part of their halftime show. Those songs are “Don’t Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Jailhouse Rock.”
“Since we’re doing Elvis songs for halftime, I thought it would be a perfect scenario to give them an educational experience and take them to Memphis to learn more about the man whose songs they are playing and learning about different genres, like rhythm and blues,” Addison High School Band Director Garrett McCurley stated. “I applied to perform at Graceland. To be able to play his music at his home is a big deal. I thought it would be neat to take them there and see what it’s all about.”
McCurley plans to take the students to both Stax and Sun records, but before arriving, there is a stop planned at Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo.
In addition to the halftime show, McCurley plans to add a couple of more songs to the set list. Those two are tentatively “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and “If I Can Dream.”
“(For) an experience like that, we try to get (the students) to play big,” McCurley added. “Go big or go home.”
Alley Ergle and Jadyn Woodard are the lone seniors in the band this year.
As the band did on their historic trip to Montgomery in 2019 to celebrate the bicentennial of the state and march in the parade, the band will travel by a chartered bus.
“I’m extremely excited,” Woodward said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, like the bicentennial was.”
“I think it’s really educational,” Ergle added. “A lot of these kids know that we’ve been playing his music and know that Elvis is a person. They just don’t know a lot about him. They’re going to get to learn, not just about Elvis, but the foundations of music.”
“To be able to go to Memphis, Tupelo and see he was a real person, see what he accomplished and what all he gave to the world, it’s going to change a lot of perspectives,” McCurley said. The plan right now is to stay at the Guest House at Graceland. A riverboat cruise may in the works, too.
Be sure to check out the band during halftime. If you catch sight of McCurley, look for his blue suede shoes.
The cost for one person’s ticket is $465, so the band will be doing a fundraiser titled “Marching In Memphis,” where people can pick an amount on a card. Calendars and other fundraisers are also upcoming. If anyone wishes to donate, please see McCurley, a band member or call the school at (256) 747-2286.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.