NGU band steps up to help Furman in NCAA tournament

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:04 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The NCAA tournament is a dream come true for college basketball teams, but they aren’t the only ones who dream of making it.

For Furman University band member Alexandra Valdovinos, performing at the Big Dance is a chance to be part of history.

“Oh my goodness, for me it is honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “It’s just amazing that we get to be a part of this history.”

Furman needed some help with some extra brass this week, though, and another Upstate university stepped up to help.

“It’s a little overwhelming but I’m definitely going to remember Furman probably for the rest of my life and this entire experience,” said Shane Smith, a freshman and member of the North Greenville University band.

Years ago, Furman’s band director Dr. Sue Samuels arranged a trip to Ireland for the band this week - long before the Paladins punched the ticket to their first NCAA tournament appearance in more than four decades.

NGU band director Gary Rhoden took a call in January when the university realized there might be a conflict.

“The band world is too small not to help out when someone needs a hand,” Rhoden said.

Furman provided plenty of purple for the NGU members to wear during Thursday’s game against Virginia. The band says they will wear it with the ultimate pride.