Fresno State Band Members Heading To Beijing

July 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Twenty-five past and present Fresno State marching band members are playing in a 2,008 member band in this year's Olympics in Beijing.Fresno State Director of Bands Gary Gilroy played music he wrote specifically for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Gilroy will help direct these three current students and 22 other musicians who will be playing in a 2008-member band at different Olympic venues in China, including Tiananmen Square.

Gilroy, says "I guess the last group to get invited to play at Tiananmen square is the three tenors and so that's kind of a big deal to get to play there."

Adam Pietz, who plays percussion, says "It doesn't even seem real. We're going to this whole other part of the world to experience this whole other culture and being part of this international community for three weeks. I'm still in disbelief that this is happening."

The students will wear special uniforms designed specifically for the Olympics; uniforms they plan to keep forever to remember this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Jeff Detlefsen, who plays trombone, says "Performances are just going to be amazing. To be able to perform in front of all these people and I'm sure you'll get the goose bumps and just kind of get into the performance."

The students say playing at the Bird Nest Stadium will also put Fresno State on an international map. The full band also includes musicians from Modesto, Washington, Japan and Australia. Along with the chance to perform at the Olympic Games, the students say they're also excited about exploring the country.

Dylan Locke, who plays percussion, says "I'm really looking forward to seeing what China has to offer. I mean, playing music with our peers is going to be a great experience but I'm looking forward to seeing all the sights and doing all the touristy things."

Each student has to pay $4,500 of their own money to go on this trip. The band will fit a couple more practices in next week then they'll head to Modesto for a send-off rally on July 22nd.
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