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Marching Thunder, VT band perform joint halftime show

On September 22, 2013

The Marching Thunder traveled to Virginia Tech Saturday to support Marshall University’s football team and perform a combined halftime performance with Virginia Tech’s marching band.

The performance was patriotic and military based, with roughly 700 band members performing on the field at once.

“They do one of those shows every year,” Steve Barnett, music program director and director of bands, said. “They’re a classic group in every way and I feel honored that they would ask us to be with them.”

The band left Huntington at 2 p.m. Friday and traveled to Princeton, W.Va., to perform a halftime show at Bluefield High School during the football game around 8:30 p.m.

The band left Princeton the next morning at 6 a.m. to travel to Blacksburg, Va., to prepare for the halftime show. They arrived in Blacksburg at 7:30 a.m. and rehearsed with Virginia Tech’s band from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Kickoff was at noon.

Barnett said this was the first mass band performance the Marching Thunder has done with Virginia Tech. This was their third time traveling to Virginia Tech since Barnett has been at Marshall. The past two times the band performed their regular halftime show.

Barnett said he was very appreciative that Virginia Tech’s band chose to let them perform and share that experience with them.

“They could have just as easily said that they were going to do the show at halftime and we wouldn’t be able to perform,” Barnett said.

Because Marshall’s band is so large and it is expensive to travel, it usually can only go to one or two away games throughout the football season.

Barnett said there are several reasons why the band chose to travel to Virginia Tech for the away game. One of the reasons is the band got the opportunity to perform at Bluefield High School’s football game the night before.

Because of Virginia Tech’s big venue, it is a favorable circumstance that the band could perform there.

“I have a very good relationship with Virginia Tech’s band staff,” Barnett said. “It’s a really, really good trip for our kids.”

Despite the rainy weather, the Marching Thunder and the Virginia Tech band were able to successfully produce the halftime show.

The next Marching Thunder performance will be Oct. 5 at the homecoming game against University of Texas at San Antonio at 2 p.m.

Misty Ernest can be contacted at


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