A lesson learned locally from Super Bowl LII is that moms are always right.

After a summer 2010 Chippewa Falls High School Marching Cardinals band practice, Erica Boos was ready to quit.

Her mother told her otherwise.

“Erica, you can’t quit because of the heat,” Sarah Boos-Walter recalled saying to her daughter. “You’re going back, and you’re going to try it again.”

Eight years later, a week after she performed with the University of Minnesota marching band in Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII halftime show, Boos seems glad she stuck with it.

“It was just luck that I continued it, because I hated it,” Boos said, adding that soon after that summer day she loved being in the marching band and performing in shows.

Boos is just one of a few Chippewa Falls High School alumni who were part of the Super Bowl LII halftime show Sunday, Feb. 4, with the University of Minnesota marching band. Ditching their regular maroon and gold attire for suits and ties, Boos, Chippewa Falls native Allison Prill and their fellow bandmates took to the field with Justin Timberlake to play some of his hits.

“I think it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things,” Prill said. “It’s not very often that the Super Bowl comes to Minneapolis, and you happen to be in college, in the band. Everything just came together perfectly.”

In terms of the show actually coming together, the band, Boos said, took part in a total of 60 hours worth of practices in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl — some with the star of the show himself.

“The show you see, it looks so simple, but it’s not. There’s so much behind it,” said Boos, who plays the tenor saxophone.

Prill, who plays the cymbals in the band, agreed, adding that the group also had a recording session with some of Timberlake’s musicians.

The band, Prill said, began petitioning to be part of the Super Bowl show last year and got the official acceptance in December. Despite finding out about their national TV appearance in December, they couldn’t tell anyone they were part of the show before it happened.

A self-admitted rule-follower, Prill said she managed to keep the secret from her parents, but they found out through other means. Her mom was joking with her that she should come home on that day, since it’s also her brother’s birthday, knowing full well her daughter was keeping a big secret.

Boos admitted she let the secret slip to her mom in December after finding out, but she swore her to secrecy as well. Despite her proud-mom struggle to keep her daughter’s chance at 15 minutes of fame a secret, Boos-Walter only told her husband, Pete Walter, and her third-grade-aged daughter, Gracie.

“It was killing me,” Boos-Walter said.

But the night of the Super Bowl, as the second quarter winded down, anticipation in the Boos-Walter household grew — right up until they saw their daughter on TV and received a “flood of messages.”

Prill also made her small screen appearance while she was on the field during the show, and it caused many family members and friends to re-connect with her again.

“It was very cool but very weird,” Prill said. “I’m not used to seeing myself on screen.”

Mike Renneke, Chippewa Falls High School band director for the Past six years, said seeing his former students pop up on screen was not what he was expecting while he happened to tune into the game.

“It was certainly a surprise,” Renneke said. “All of a sudden here comes JT, and oh my gosh I think I know that person.”

Both Prill and Boos credited the work and dedication they had marching with the Chippewa Falls Marching Band to their collegiate music transition at the University of Minnesota. Prill said she was unaware just how many schools barely have marching or a concert band — if at all.

“It’s wonderful that we have a great marching program,” Prill said. “I think I took it for granted in high school.”

The power of a music program isn’t lost on Renneke.

“I think the cool thing about music is, it can take kids from anywhere … and unites them,” Renneke said.

It’s a program Boos said she’s glad she never quit. Without it she wouldn’t have made the friendships that she did nor would she have served in a leadership role as drum major during her tenure at Chippewa Falls High School.

It also gives her mom an ultimate “I told you so.” And it was a moment that Boos-Walter will never forget.

“I was so proud of her,” Boos-Walter said upon seeing her daughter in the show. “She has come through so much in her life and just to see something that wonderful and exciting in her senior year. … I was beaming with pride, and I was just so happy for her.”


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