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Memphis Bound: FDSH Band to Liberty Bowl - from The Messenger

December 23, 2021

A group of about 110 Fort Dodge Senior High students are heading to the land of the Delta Blues this weekend.

The FDSH All-American Marching Band is slated to perform during halftime at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Tuesday evening. The band, which regularly performs well at state marching band competitions, receives offers to perform at bowl games every year, FDSH Band Director Al Paulson said. The band takes a large bowl game trip every four years.

"We get offers all the time," he said. "The band has done well in contests and our reputation is out there, so we get invited."

The band will pack up and leave Fort Dodge at 5 a.m. on Sunday to head to Tennessee.

The band's performances will kick off on Monday afternoon with the Beale Street Parade. During the parade, the band will be playing tunes from its fall show, "Moulin Rouge."

Then, on Tuesday evening, the FDSH Marching Band will join seven other high school marching bands to perform during halftime at the Liberty Bowl game between Mississippi State University and Texas Tech University.

"We've been working the last couple of weeks since our concert, getting ready for this," Paulson said.

The band has been rehearsing the new tunes along with a recording from recording artist Jason D. Williams. They will have one opportunity to rehearse with the other bands prior to the performance on Tuesday, but Paulson feels his students are ready.

"They can play it in their sleep," he said.

The trip will be more than just marching and music. The students will get to attend the Liberty Bowl Rodeo the night they arrive in Memphis. They will also go on a tour of Graceland and a tour of the University of Memphis, as well as get some shopping in.

Paulson likes giving his students opportunities like these bowl game performances and parades.

"I think it'll be great to perform with other bands and meet some other students," he said. "They're from all over the country."

During Monday's parade, the band will be performing in front of national judges, Paulson said.

"So we'll see what they have to say about us," he said.

A group of FDSH Orchestra students will also be making the trip and will have the opportunity to do a clinic with the University of Memphis orchestra director, Paulson added.

The band is scheduled to return to Fort Dodge on the evening of Dec. 30.

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