Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats to Perform at NFL Pro Bowl
Last year, the Super Bowl. This year, the Pro Bowl. On January 31, the Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) marching band will take the field at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida to perform during this year's NFL Pro Bowl half-time show. The Marching Wildcats, scheduled to be the only half-time entertainment, will perform for 7 minutes. Last year, the Marching Wildcats performed during the pre-game show at the Super Bowl.
“We are thrilled that the Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats will once again perform at one of the nation's most high-profile sporting events,” noted B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. “Having the NFL continue to recognize the B-CU band program is a tremendous honor and a tribute to the dedication and talent of our band director, Donovan Wells, his staff, and our amazing students.”
"I selected Bethune-Cookman because they are one of the best marching bands in the country. Their performance at Super Bowl 43 was amazing.” said Sammy Choi, NFL director of event presentation.
"The Pro Bowl is an ideal venue to do what we do best – perform at an elite level for the enjoyment of the fans. We're working hard to put together a great show," commented Donovan Wells, B-CU band director.
Recognized as “the heartbeat of B-CU,” and one of the top collegiate bands in the country, the Marching Wildcats strive to bring the finest performances to viewing audiences. This year's edition boasts 320 band members, along with auxiliary units the Sophisticat Flag Corps and the 14KT Gold Dancers.
The Pro-Bowl performance will be the latest of many high-profile events in the last decade, including:
- NFL Super Bowl pre-game show
- NFL halftime shows for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- NASCAR Daytona 500 pre-race show
- ABC Walt Disney World Christmas Special
- MTV Super Bowl Rock N' Jock Special
- Honda Battle of the Bands
- The Ellen Degeneres Show
- EA Sports Video Soundtrack
- Featured appearance in 20th Century Fox film “Drumline”
- Featured appearance in television commercial for the Cadillac DTS
What does it take to be part of the Marching Wildcats?
The B-CU students who perform as the Marching Wildcats are an elite group of musicians, drum majors and dancers who exemplify talent, hard work and commitment to excellence.
Competition to be part of the band is fierce, with auditions starting in February each year. Once accepted into the program, band students arrive on campus weeks before most of their peers to participate in band training camp – two weeks of three-a-day practices in the band room and outdoors in the Florida heat. During registration week, practices are scaled back to two-a-day, and once classes start, band students practice at least three hours a night, five nights a week, throughout football season.
By mid-November, when the Marching Wildcats perform at the annual Florida Classic, a new freshman in the band will have learned close to 40 songs – plus the intricate formations and choreography for which the band in known.
About Bethune-Cookman University
Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.