Engineering students light up the band during big victories, and beyond…

Published: Nov 30, 2017 12:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Austin Phillips, adp0019@auburn.edu, 334-844-2444

A group of more than 65 Samuel Ginn College of Engineering students who are members of the Auburn University Marching Band put a spark in the Tigers’ big wins over then No. 1 Georgia and Alabama through an LED lightshow during the halftime performances.

The students were approached by Corey Spurlin, marching band director, during the summer with a challenge to develop an LED component to the halftime show. The students started manufacturing the design in September, and the group worked more than 1,200 hours in and out of the Student Projects and Research Committee Laboratory, or SPARC Lab, within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to perfect the concept in time for the Georgia game.

The show, titled #VegasStrong, is dedicated to honor the victims of the October tragedy, and it features songs “This Town,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and ends with a medley of “Clair de Lune,” “Sabre Dance” and “Ritual Fire Dance.”

More than 100,000 individual LED lights adorned the hats of the band members during the show, and the lights were synchronized and controlled through radio technology. The combined battery power of the system is enough to fully recharge a smartphone once per day for 3 ½ years.

Ben Brisendine, sophomore in electrical and computer engineering, served as the lead designer while Ryan Blackwell, senior in mechanical engineering, served as the project manager.

“It was a large-scale event and it’s been really cool seeing it come together,” Blackwell said.

With the overwhelming success of the show, and the results of the games over the Tigers’ two biggest rivals, Blackwell said the band is readying to take the show on the road to Atlanta.

“We’re currently in the lab trying to get it ready for the SEC Championship,” Blackwell said.

And if the Tigers win Saturday and advance to the College Football Playoffs?

“We’ll be doing this as long as we’re playing football this season,” Blackwell said with a smile.