Jan. 1, 2013
By Jon Cooper
So much of the focus during bowl week is on getting.
All teams want to get a win. Some just want to get respect. Still others, like Georgia Tech at this year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl, want to get both.
Team personnel get tangible items, like lavish gifts from sponsors, banquets and other perks from the host city, which is showing off the best it has to offer.
But sometimes lost in all the getting is the opportunity to give.
That wasn’t lost on Georgia Tech during its stay in El Paso and it certainly was important to the school’s Director of Athletic Bands Chris Moore.
Moore made sure that his charges would not forget to show its appreciation. On Saturday afternoon, Tech’s Marching Band gave a special show to the troops of Fort Bliss and their families.
“We wanted to give something to El Paso,” said Moore.”They’ve been a great host to us [in 2011 and 2012] and it’s kind of a nice way for us to say ‘Thank you,’ not only to El Paso but to the troops. They’re putting their lives on the line for us every day. The students really loved playing for the troops.”
The concert, held at the Freedom Crossing area of the base, lasted about 20 minutes and featured the standards that the band would play on Monday. Included were the “Georgia Tech Fight Song,” something Sun Bowl Stadium got to hear quite often and the loudest at the end of Tech’s 21-7 victory over USC, and “The Budweiser Song.”
The band, 170 strong — about half the number that would play at a Yellow Jackets home game — was well-received, even though the audience might not necessarily have picked up on all of the songs prompts.
“Most of the military guys are pretty young, so not many of them recognize it as ‘The Budweiser Song,'” Moore said. “And of course, with the band playing instruments, they weren’t screaming, ‘When you say Budweiser…” as they played.”
The Saturday concert was followed on Sunday by an appearance at Fan Fiesta, where both schools’ bands performed, then, of course, at the game itself on Monday. The band flew home right after the game.
While their 2012 trip was as much of a whirlwind as 2011’s, it was paramount this time that they do something nice for those stationed at Fort Bliss, the second-largest Army installation in the U.S., and the fastest-growing, with a population well over 8,000 on the base.
“We didn’t have time, with our schedule last year to do it but we tried to make sure that we did it this year,” Moore said. “Last year we kind of did the touristy stuff, we saw all the sights. This year we decided it would be kind of fun to give something back to the community and visit the troops and thank them for all they’re doing for us.”