PDT Staff Writer
It is looking increasingly like Alabama and Kansas State are on a collision course on the 50-yard-line of the Orange Bowl in the BCS Championship Game. On that same field, on that same day, South Webster High School band member Mitchell Richardson, an animated 17-year-old senior, will be pounding the drums in the All Star Invitational Marching Band. It won’t be his first appearance on a national stage.
“In November, I am marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the second time,” Richardson said. “Then, beginning in January, I’m going down to Florida to march in the BCS Orange Bowl for halftime. So whoever is playing in that, I will be there to watch that game and march on the field at halftime.”
In the South Webster band, Richardson plays the tenor drums, known as the quads, but he said he is not sure what type of drums he will be playing in Florida. After all, he plays the all.
Richardson said he enjoyed playing in the Macy’s parade last year.
“It was wonderful because I was still in my junior year of high school and I was still learning from everybody else,” Richardson said. “Plus, getting the chance to go there and learn from people outside of Scioto County. They have so much more experience with other styles and stuff like that. It is just a good thing to learn from others.”
Richardson is excited about going to the BCS championship, a place where most people will never get to go in their lifetime.
“I’ve never been to a national championship game for anything anyway,” Richardson said. “So that will be fun just to say I was there and that I saw the game. But just to say I’ve been on the field is another thing in itself. Most people will say, ‘I’ve been up in the stands,’ but I will be on the field where they’ve played football. That will be fun to tell people that.”
At events where young people from all across the country come together for a short time, sometimes long time relationships are built. That’s what Richardson has discovered after marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“You get kids from all over the United States, all 50 states,” Richardson said. “And you can keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter, and things like that. You share things like, ‘I’ve got a concert on this day,’ or ‘I’m gonna do this now.’ You do keep in touch with friends. You make a lot of new ones.
It is obvious Mitchell, son of Kelli and Shawn Richardson, is a dynamic kid from a supportive family. When you speak of his family, that permanent smile broadens.
“My mom, my grandma, my brothers and my dad, they’ve all supported me everywhere I went,” Richardson said. “Last year, the whole family went to New York. I had them over on the side cheering for me. It was kind of funny - out of all the people that were there, I could still hear my mom cheering for me over there on the side. That was fun in itself. Just to know that they are back there supporting me and that I always have someone there to help me through it. It’s very encouraging.”
Richardson said getting selected to perform at such venues are good for his college resume’.
“It has helped tremendously,” Richardson said. “Recently, I got my acceptance letter from West Virginia, and I’m still waiting to hear back from Michigan.”
Richardson has much of his future figured out.
“I plan on attending college. It’s starting to look like I’m going to Morehead State University to major in music education,” Richardson said. “That’s where it’s kind of leaning to now, but things may change. But music education is my primary goal in a major.”
He said he would like to become a band director or a drum instructor at a high school.
A fundraiser to help defray costs will be held at Gatti’s Pizza Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 4 - 9 p.m. There is also a raffle with tickets priced at $20 each. Only 150 tickets will be sold, and first prize will be $1,000 and second prize $500. The drawing will be on Dec. 18 at the South Webster and Minford game.
Another bonus from Richardson’s national appearances is the attention they bring to South Webster High School and that school’s music program.
“It makes them look really good,” Richardson said. “Because they have good programs to help kids do great things. It really puts them on the map because we are from a small town. It lets people know where we actually are.”
In the hallway is a banner that reads - “South Webster Junior & Senior High - Excellence with Distinction.” Richardson is one of the many young people who have proved that banner again and again.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com