Super Bowl 44 – Day 6: Stadium Rehearsal

Casey Henry

Casey Henry

First, I’d like to say happy birthday to my cousin Natalie, who turns, hmm, I think it’s sixteen today! If you’re driving anywhere in the vicinity of Waxhaw, NC, watch out! (Just kidding!)

Yesterday I laid eyes on the ocean for the first time. Our hotel is right next to the beach, but my room doesn’t face beachward. When I went downstairs for the hotel’s protein-less, carb-heavy continental breakfast I chose a table facing east, toward the ocean, to admire what I hadn’t heretofore had time to enjoy. It didn’t make my tasteless, hard cantaloupe/honeydew/watermelon taste any better, but it was pretty.

Yesterday we had a big production meeting, where we go through the schedule for the entire halftime show event from now through the end of the show, as well as the Pro Bowl pre-game show. It was not the slowest two hours and twenty minutes of my life, but it was far from exciting. The executive producer, director, the heads of all the departments (art, lighting, sound, talent, stage managers, TV people), and many people lower down on the totem pole were all there. My own personal part in this big production machine is minuscule, but I like to go to the meeting to see how all the folks who get things done coordinate with all the other folks who get thing done.

Last night was the first time we’ve brought our volunteers into the stadium. As a matter of fact, it was the first time we’ve brought the stage into the stadium and set it up on the field. On this day last year I gave my solo-banjo show, entertaining the volunteers during the down time while the TV people looked at the stage through the cameras. This year we don’t have that kind of down time, since the stage is so much bigger and takes longer to move around.

The practice went well. It’s always a challenge to get the volunteers to stay off the tarped field, and off the sideline grass, when they’re standing around in between stage moves. The stadium groundskeeper (fieldkeeper?) is very protective of the grass, and we do our best to comply with whatever he asks of us.

The amount of work being done to the stadium is staggering. They’re pressure washing the ground (the paved parts of it anyway). They’re washing the windows. They’re planting hundreds of new bushes and mulching. In general, they’re spiffing up everything that can possibly be spiffed up. There was a crew of construction workers impatient for us to finish practice because we were in the way of whatever they were trying to do. The second we were done, they hopped right back to it.

For the next two days we’ll take a break from the halftime show to deal with the Pro-Bowl. Today is our Pro-Bowl dress rehearsal; tomorrow is the game. The pre-game show doesn’t require nearly as many volunteers, so it should be a bit more laid back, I can only hope.

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