Jordan brings brass ring to championship game
Cooney senior plays trombone at halftime of BCS title game
Jake Jordan usually spends halftimes in locker rooms, huddled with his teammates. But not this time.
The Oconomowoc High School senior, a trombone player, was selected to the All-Star Invitational Marching Band, which spent a week in Miami earlier this month culminating with a halftime performance during the BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium - a 42-14 win for Alabama over Notre Dame on Jan. 7.
Jordan, a defensive back and special teamer for the OHS football team, hasn't had the chance to march at halftime with his co-horts in the OHS band during his past two seasons on the varsity. That proved to be a challenge for this process, which required a videotape submission of live-action marching.
"We literally went into my backyard and pulled out an iPad and taped me marching around playing our school song," said Jordan. "There was some doubt they'd accept that, but I felt like I'm a good enough marcher that I might still get in based on sound quality and ability to play trombone, in addition to being an athletic kid."
Jordan was part of a similar program two years ago that played in New York at Carnegie Hall, and the travel agency that arranged that voyage alerted him to this opportunity.
"That was definitely the coolest experience I ever had," Jordan said of the BCS halftime performance. "It combined my love for band with my love for athletics and football. I made a lot of great friends there. Altogether, it was one of the best experiences I ever had."
Eight trombone players were selected for the competition, which brought in players from around the country to fill out its marching band of roughly 150 participants.
When they emerged for the halftime show, the students were facing a crowd of 80,120, just slightly more than what one would find at an OHS home game.
"There were more people that were a little more shell-shocked than me - I usually keep a fairly level head with things - but it did surprise me the amount of people that were in that stadium," said Jordan, who also participated in the rolling out of the flag for the National Anthem prior to kickoff.
"We got new marching uniforms (last year), which was something extra that makes you feel more confident on the field," Jordan said. "We wore our high-school uniforms (in Miami), so you could see everybody's uniforms from across the nation."
Jordan said the caliber of musician and marcher in the All-Star Invitational band was elite. He began playing trombone as a fifth-grader and started marching as a freshman.
"I played it (in fifth grade) just because I could, but when we started doing more things with it like jazz band, concert band … once there was more opportunity to play really cool songs, I got really into it," he said. "By freshman year I was thinking, 'I've got to be in the band.' I'm going to stick with it for a very long time."
Jordan has applied at a number of colleges, including Big Ten schools with high-profile marching bands, and said the prospect of playing at that level is one of his top considerations in the application process.
It's especially notable that Jordan doesn't get a chance to march that much during the fall season, restricted by his presence on the football team. Though he's limited to parades and special events, including a performance during a Brewers game last year, he said he doesn't regret playing the sport and missing some of the fun.
"My band director, (Michael) Krofta, and the OASD, which provides all the musicians at OHS is one of the best music programs in the state," Jordan said. "I would not have gotten the opportunities I have if not for them."
In Miami, the band members were given a chance to roam around Miami and attend a festival right on South Beach, they also had a chance to perform with the famous Miami Sound Machine as part of the halftime show.
"We took a ton of pictures with them and enjoyed playing with them," said Jordan, who admitted he didn't know a lot about the Miami Sound Machine before the voyage.
He didn't stick around for the final of the game, where Alabama laid claim to its third national championship in four years.
"It really wasn't that much of a game," Jordan said.
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