Their on-field performance might only last for 2 1/2 minutes, but you'd guess it was 2 1/2 hours by the level of excitement that's in the air.
Members of the Wyandotte Marching Chiefs practiced alongside Kid Rock on Wednesday in preparation for their national TV appearance during halftime of the Thanksgiving Day Detroit Lions game at Ford Field.
The Roosevelt High School marching band is the only marching band picked to perform during the halftime show, which will feature about 700 total performers. Of those, 126 will be Downriver high school students. Roosevelt has a crew of 108 students, with an additional 18 students coming from the Trenton High School marching band.
"It’s a thrill with so many people being excited for us," Mark D’Angelo, Roosevelt’s instrumental music director, said Wednesday night following their live rehearsal. "Just to be a matter of 20 feet away from Kid Rock. The kids saw him today and were really excited."
The halftime event will feature a live performance of Kid Rock’s new song, “Detroit, Michigan,” a feature track from his new album “Rebel Soul,” which was released Tuesday. The song pays homage to several of Detroit’s music greats, including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Seger and Eminem in addition to icons like Henry Ford and Rosa Parks. (Listen to the song here.)
D'Angelo said his band has been working hard since first approached by E2K Sports, which puts on the halftime show.
"I was sent the 'Detroit, Michigan' track a couple weeks ago, but at that time, it was unsure if Kid Rock was going to be doing that song," D'Angelo said. "I wrote the music for the band and we prerecorded the music. Right after we prerecorded it, they laid it on the track and you'll be able to hear the marching band through the performance."
The football game begins at 12:30 p.m. and features the Lions taking on the Houston Texans. The halftime show is expected to start at about 2 p.m. The CBS-televised portion will last about 4 minutes, with the band's performance going for about 2 1/2 minutes.
The students will start out on both sides of the stage at the 25-yard line and will march past center field in front of the stage where Kid Rock will be performing, D'Angelo said.
Fourteen adults from Wyandotte's band program are chaperoning the trip and will make an appearance in a makeshift mosh pit during the last 20 seconds of the halftime performance, D'Angelo said.
"It's pretty cool getting everybody involved like that," he said.
Wyandotte's band has performed at a number of local and national events, including the Indianapolis 500 and the 2009 inaugural parade for President Barack Obama in Washington D.C.
With the halftime show being a surprise development and with the school district not having its own fleet of buses, the band has incurred $2,400 in transportation costs getting to and from rehearsals, D'Angelo said. About $600 in donations have come in over the last couple weeks.
"We really appreciate everyone's support," D'Angelo said.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by mailing a check to Wyandotte Marching Chiefs Band-Aid Fund, Roosevelt High School, 540 Eureka, Wyandotte, MI 48192.