Collins Hill assistant band director to perform at Super Bowl

Pedestrians are reflected on windows displaying the Super Bowl icon as preparations continue for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York.

Pedestrians are reflected on windows displaying the Super Bowl icon as preparations continue for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York.


Collins Hill High assistant band director Chuck Arnold, left, will perform a trumpet solo during the Super Bowl pre-game show on a soundtrack written by Steve Dancz, right, his former professor at the University of Georgia. (Special Photo)

If you plan to watch the Super Bowl pre-game show on Sunday, make sure your volume is up to hear a trumpet solo from a Gwinnett band leader.

Chuck Arnold, who has worked at Collins Hill High as an assistant band director for two years, will perform a pre-recorded solo as part of “Heart of Independence,” a soundtrack for a six-minute short film prior to the national anthem. Arnold recorded the solo on Sunday in Atlanta, so he won’t be seen on television before player introductions.

“It’s really cool for me,” said Arnold, who served in the Navy for 10 years, and was part of the Navy Band. “It’s such an iconic event. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something of that magnitude.”

Arnold was selected for the performance by Steve Dancz, a University of Georgia jazz professor who he used to work with as a graduate assistant. This is the second Super Bowl — both Fox productions — that Dancz has written the soundtrack for, and Arnold has played the trumpet, as part of the pre-game festivities. Arnold said Dancz has been a “film score genius forever.”

If this year is anything like in 2011, Arnold said his cell phone will “absolutely blow up” when his performance is aired.

The music will be available for purchase on iTunes following the game with proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. The short film will air at about 5:50 p.m. and feature Dakota Meyer, a Marine veteran and Medal of Honor recipient after he fought in the war in Afghanistan, Martin Sheen, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Buzz Aldrin, Michelle Obama and several NFL players and coaches. The film will lead into the trumpet performance.

“It’s the most classical playing you ever hear me do, I’m more jazz and commercial,” said Arnold, who also plays in the Half Dozen Brass Band and the Atlanta Lyric Orchestra. “The difficulty level of this thing is not crazy, but it’s about getting the right sound and mood, with dialogue and imagery going over it. That’s the hard part, getting it to match.”

Daniel Treuman, Collins Hill’s band director, said because Arnold is relatively new to the school that this has given other teachers and staff a chance to get to know Arnold better. As a teacher, Treuman said it’s helped Arnold connect with students.

“He’s authentic,” Treuman said. “When he speaks to the kids about what it means to be a professional player, it’s authentic, it gives him validity. That’s the strongest thing you can offer a student.”