The FIU marching band played at Miami International Airport on Jan. 26 for a crowd awaiting the arrival of the Kansas City Chiefs for Super Bowl LIV.
“Out of anyone they could have picked, they chose FIU,” said Alejandro Sanchez, a sophomore psychology major and baritone player. “It’s a very humbling experience. FIU is getting out on the map right now.”
The band is busy this week. FIU’s drumline has multiple performances lined up. Band director Barry Bernhardt had to turn down at least five “gigs,” many of which were paid.
“These guys were really good,” said Chad Breedlove, a veteran video producer who was waiting for the Chiefs. “They played some more contemporary stuff, which you don’t see a lot. Sometimes it’s older stuff that’s played. These guys were really good.”
FIU’s band performs outside of university events often. The Panthers have appeared in a Florida Lottery commercial, one of hip-hop artist Nelly’s music videos and one of LeBron James’ Sprite advertisements.
“I’ve gotten to do a bunch of crazy things because of FIU. Last year, I went to the Bahamas because of FIU. It’s a lot of new experiences coming through the band, and it’s great,” said Susana Martinez, a junior interdisciplinary studies major who plays the trumpet.