The 234-member Olentangy Orange High School Marching Pioneers will celebrate the holiday season with a performance at the Cleveland Browns’ home football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec.13.
The email invitation from the Browns special-events coordinator came as a huge surprise as the band was just wrapping up its marching season and preparing for its annual Friday Night Live concerts on Nov. 19-22.
“The invitation was certainly a surprise,” said Marc Zirille, band director. “The Browns request came as our marching season was coming to a close. The students are excited to extend our season and our seniors are honored to end in such a big way.”
In addition to playing during the Browns-49ers halftime at FirstEnergy stadium, the Marching Pioneers hope to perform outside the stadium for fans as they are approaching the stadium for the 1 p.m. game.
The December football game will be a holiday theme for the Browns, so the Marching Pioneers will play several new holiday songs in addition to some traditional favorites. The band will perform “That’s Christmas to Me” by Pentatonix, “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in the same style as the Jackson 5.
“This will be the tune that the band will break it down and perform a dance,” Zirille said.
The Pioneers have also been invited to perform in the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Following the Cleveland trip, the band will prepare for its concert and symphonic season.
“Very few high school bands get to play at a pro football game,” Zirille said. “It’s an honor in itself just for Olentangy Orange to be there. We’re the halftime entertainment.”