School band to perform at Texans' Sunday game

HOUSTON The Texans organization has planned an elaborate halftime performance celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month; and when the Grammy-award winning band La Mafia was chosen to perform, they decided to bring along a local high school marching band for the ride.

Thursday night was their big rehearsal.

The Northbrook High School marching band took the field in the Texans Practice Bubble for a rehearsal like no other in its school history.

"I heard we are the first high school band to perform with the Texans," said John Longshore, who's an assistant drum major.

The high school marching band was chosen to play with the iconic Latino band La Mafia during Sunday's halftime performance as the Texans take on the Cowboys.

As one of La Mafia's hits started playing at the stadium, the band that formed in Houston back in 1980 arrives.

While the high schoolers are excited to be playing with the iconic Latino band, their faces are serious and tensions are high. Everyone wants the halftime performance perfect for before 80,000-plus people in Reliant Stadium Sunday.

"One of the guys from the band addressed the kids and that went over really well and really loosened them up a bit," said Bobby Gonzalez, the head band director at the high school.

The band and head drum major rose above the field in a crane to brainstorm the performance. But this is a concept La Mafia has been dreaming about for years.

"We wanted to take one of our old hits, spice it up a little bit and add a horn section, and he visualized it, so it all just fell in place," said Armando Lichtenberger Jr., La Mafia's accordion and keyboards player.

"It adds a lot of power; just like when you hear it, you hear the horn section; you see all these young people out on field that are really having a good time; it gives life to it again, to a whole different generation," La Mafia's lead singer Oscar de la Rosa said.

As the rehearsal goes on, some are in sheer amazement that this halftime performance is just days away.

"I never thought I would do this," head drum major Aleyda Castillo said. "We are just in high school, and all we look forward to is competition. We never thought it would be like 75,000 people in front of everyone."

And during halftime, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the band's 30th anniversary, the Northbrook marching band will spell out "La Mafia - 30 years" on the field.

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