Sports and music aren’t always thought of in the same category, however, Paul Pfieffer, former Lamar Dodd Chair of Art, saw a similarity in the intensity of the performance.
As a part of the annual Spotlight on the Arts festival, 50 members of the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band performed a two-and-a-half hour score from a typical football game at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. The rest of the band members performed at the same time in Sanford Stadium via broadcast.
The University of Georgia Redcoat Band Live was “the culmination of several years of research and filming undertaken during Pfieffer’s tenure as the Lamar Dodd Chair of Art … in 2016-2018,” according to the Lamar Dodd School of Art event page.
The amphitheater and stadium both originated as places for public performance. The idea behind Pfieffer’s Redcoat Band Live was to show the contrasting architectures of Sanford Stadium and the Apollo Theater while also exploring whether the “group rituals” of performances could be replicated when he intertwined music and live broadcast, according to the Lamar Dodd School of Art event page.
The 50 members of the band who went to New York were chosen by the band director and the band captains. The group chose “the strongest players” and members they knew would be comfortable with performing in the new space, said Cameron Pittman, senior wildlife science major and Redcoat Band captain.
“It’s weird because we had to basically bring the attitude [and] behavior of a band in Athens to [the Apollo],” Pittman said.
The New Yorkers in the packed theater didn’t know what they got themselves into or how to react to the band. This meant the Redcoats had to bring the energy of a full Sanford Stadium to a quieter crowd, Pittman said.
Performers were placed in various locations around the Apollo so the audience could walk around and have an interactive experience. However, this meant the band couldn’t see the director in person, so a live stream of the director was in every room the band performed.
As the members at the Apollo reacted to the director at the performance, the director reacted to the rest of the band at Sanford Stadium. The entire performance was stressful for those in New York due to being unable to see the tape of the Missouri vs. Georgia game, which the band at Sanford Stadium used for their cues, Pittman said.
Those who performed in Sanford were almost as confused as those in New York. Even though there were the leaders of the performance, the band members couldn’t see the game so the members didn’t know what the director was going to call next, said Kate Tabeling, senior advertising major and drum major for the Redcoat Band.
“The only thing that was weird was getting people to snap back into [the performance] because they wanted us to fake cheer at the field as if a game was happening,” Tabeling said.
The atmosphere was completely different from the band’s regular show and the members weren’t the only ones who noticed. People that walked by the stadium took pictures of the band cheering at the empty field. Tabeling said it was funny to watch people go by because they were clearly confused about why the band was there.