Dobbs’ Marching Cobras Perform at Super Bowl

Dobbs Ferry’s Marching Cobras led the Super Bowl XLVIII Lombardi Trophy down 34th street in New York City’s parade and were honored by County Executive Robert Astorino.

When the parade took place on Jan. 29, the band arrived in a coach bus, “They (parade officials) actually had us in the press box preforming in Times Square while the trophy was walked to the trophy case,” said Terrel Stowers, Director of The Marching Cobras.

When the big day came, the band got to MetLife Stadium in the morning. They also marched with the New York Jets’ Cheerleaders, rubbed shoulders with college marching bands such as Rutgers’ University Marching Band, and Syracuse’s Marching Band. They played four 45 minute sets.

The students start out as beginners and the staff teaches them all the way up until they are advanced players. Anyone can join the 70-piece band and growing. “They get the basic skills from us when they first start; they need to have a need to commit to the program and keep their grades up,”explained Stowers.

The program was created by St. Christopher’s five years ago when emotionally disturbed teens from the five boroughs, Westchester County, and from the Hudson Valley got an opportunity to live on campus. Approximately 15 students live on campus now who are currently in the Marching Cobras program while the rest of the band members are from other school districts or other boroughs.

Nevertheless, the collaboration worked. Students from St. Christopher’s were merged with the community young people and they developed better social skills, even with their personal issues.

“St. Christopher’s liked our program and wondered if we could do it for their students and we said of course,” Stowers added. “A lot of them have different emotional issues; we had to start on one day-a-week practices unfortunately. We had to adjust to their situation.”

On the band’s website, their mission is to teach culture through music and the performing arts to teens.

The music that they play is a mix of hip-hop, jazz, and Latin. Stowers says this rhythm is for “hyping up the crowd”. The band rehearses five days a week for four hours a day. This preparation helps them perform on the weekends with shows, parades, competitions, and festivals.

On top of directing the entire marching band, The Marching Cobras’ assistant director and choreographer, Kevin Young works with the students’ moves and rhythms. “I try to mesh hip-hop with southern choreography with southern bands.” Young says he works with the dancers mostly, but also with the drum line. One of the songs played at the Super Bowl was called “Cold Grove.”

Aside from marching in a parade and playing at the Super Bowl, the marching Cobras have been asked to be in a movie. The movie is called Birdman, starring Michael Keaton.

“We were performing in Washington Square Park when the director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, came up to me and asked if we would like to be in the movie. Of course, I said sure,” Stowers explained.

The movie already filmed the band playing in Times Square, but Stowers said they were on set from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The money earned from the movie will go toward the band and school.

The band has performances all through this month and the next, but their next big competition will be in West Virginia during the Strawberry Festival in May 2014.