Photo by Chris Langschultz
Ann Curry, host of NBC’s “Today Show,” played a stint with the Bergenfield (N.J.) High School Band as part of a special “Have You Ever” segment in which the hosts do something they’ve always dreamed of.
“She mentioned that she values music a lot for her own children but never got an opportunity to experience it herself,” says Brian Timmons, director of bands and district music coordinator at Bergenfield.
Curry spent about five hours with the students, learning all about marching band, in their gymnasium. After trying out several different instruments, she decided to play the bass drum. “Ann was really warm and dealt with the kids very positively—she was excited to have them working with her,” Timmons says. “They all came away from the experience commenting how genuine and warm she was.”
Then a week later, on Jan. 20, 2011, the band members had a 4:30 a.m. call time to go to New York, where they did a singing-only run-through and then ate breakfast in the “Saturday Night Live” soundstage. For their performance with Curry, they did a parade formation through Rockefeller Plaza and crammed the entire band into the “Today Show” studio.
“They really liked us, and on a whim, asked us to be part of the next segment as well,” Timmons says. “We really quickly restaged in Rockefeller Plaza in the parade block and played our school fight song. It was really at an incredible fast pace, and the kids were great about reacting and doing what they had to do with no prep time.”
After her performance with the band, Curry glowed with appreciation. “I really want to thank all the young people at Bergenfield High School because what they really did was they showed me that being in a band is so cool,” she said on the “Today Show.” “There’s a kind of feeling that you’re in something, that you’re all working towards a similar mission, and it’s so comforting actually; it’s a great, great thing. And actually kids who go to band, they do better on their SATs; it’s a terrific thing for your kid to do.”
The Bergenfield band is no stranger to showbiz, recently appearing in two major motion pictures: “The Bounty Hunter” and “Tower Heist,” premiering in November.
“We were just happy to have nine minutes of music education on prime morning television, broadcast live around the world,” Timmons says. “It was great highlighting our program, but it did a great job of highlighting the marching band activity in general, and I hope it is good for all the marching band programs in the country.”