By ALISSA SCOTT
Three former Amsterdam High School Marching Rams will be performing at one of the most watched events of the year -- Super Bowl XLVIII.
Syracuse University students Rachel Novotny and Chelsey Crosby, and LeMoyne College student Cory Mihalek, along with the other members of the Syracuse University Marching Band, were asked by the National Football League to perform during the pre-game events.
"After one of our performances in late November, our director sat the entire band down and told us that the NFL had reached out to him and asked us to perform on the field as part of the pre-game festivities at the Super Bowl," Mihalek said. "Everyone in the band just went wild. Everybody knows about the Super Bowl and were are all extremely excited and honored to be asked to perform at such a high profile event."
This is the first time the band, of which both schools play for, has been asked to perform at a Super Bowl.
Mihalek, of Fort Johnson, and a 2010 graduate of AHS, will be playing the trombone. He said he's been playing for the past 12 years and is now a senior. He studies sociology.
Crosby, of Amsterdam, and a 2010 graduate of AHS, will play the alto saxophone. She said she's been involved with music since she was 7 years old. Now a senior, she studies inclusive elementary education.
Novotny, of Amsterdam, and a 2013 graduate of AHS, is in the color guard. As a freshman in college, she's been involved with marching bands for five years including her time with the Marching Rams. She studies business.
Though they couldn't say much about the show, Novotny said they will be performing "popular songs that people of all generations will recognize" and doing some "really cool formations" on the field.
"I don't think it has really sunk in yet," Novotny said. "I keep trying to imagine how large the crowd is going to be, but I have a very hard time doing that. Most likely because I have never been a part of something on this large of a scale."
Mihalek and Crosby have both performed in front of large audiences before like an NCAA basketball tournament, and at the MetLife Stadium for an SU football game, but said this is still the biggest event they'll have played at.
"I don't think anything will compare to playing at the Super Bowl," Mihalek said. "This is definitely the biggest event I have had the opportunity to play at ... and I don't think I will ever play at an event bigger than the Super Bowl."
Mihalek said this is a "dream come true" for him.
"I have to laugh because it has always been on my bucket list to be at a Super Bowl," Mihalek said. "Well, now I will be performing at one. It just does not get any better than that."
Even with all the people who will be watching, Mihalek said he's not nervous at all.
"It's just a really exciting time for us all, being asked to perform a pre-game show at the Super Bowl and being able to do so with some best friends," Mihalek said. "In my opinion, there's nothing to be nervous about. I, along with the rest of the band, will be well prepared for this event and I, personally, will be going on to that field and giving it my all and not looking back."
This will be Mihalek's last performance with the band because he graduates in May. He said he can't think of a better way to end his time with the band than at a Super Bowl.
Crosby said she feels lucky to even be involved.
"I feel very fortunate to be able to be a part of this because I was originally not a part of the marching band this year," Crosby said.
Crosby went to New York City to student teach, but when she heard the band was invited to the Super Bowl, she reached out to the director.
"I took a chance and e-mailed our director and asked if maybe he had a spot that he needed to be filled by a person," Crosby said. "He e-mailed me back and said, 'Can you make practice?' I said, 'Absolutely,' and he said 'You are in.'"
Before Crosby went away to school, she was involved with the Auriesville Shrine choir and worked at Vern's Auto Body.
Mihalek was involved with Boys Scout troop 48 in Amsterdam and the AHS choir.
Novotny was the captain of the Marching Rams' color guard for three years and involved with the band for four years.
The three aren't sure if the event will be televised and haven't been told by the network, but said their parents are hoping to see them on TV.
The Super Bowl is Feb. 2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in New Jersey between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.