Carroll percussionists performed at major events in last 18 months

Staff Sgt. J.W. Sayre kept getting text messages.

He was watching the Super Bowl in February from a seat in the middle tier of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis when friends and family started texting well wishes.

They were sending him congratulations for being on television during pregame ceremonies for Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and New England Patriots Feb. 5.

Sayre, previously of Westminster, was part of a joint service honor guard on the field before the game, just before Season 1 "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson performed the National Anthem. He is a percussionist with the United States Air Force Band of Flight concert band. He is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

In the last two years, a Carroll County percussionist has performed at the Super Bowl, at the Grammy Awards and on "American Idol."

Matt Billingslea played at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010 with standout country music group Lady Antebellum. Adam Silverman was behind his drum set while Lauren Alaina belted out the lyrics to her debut single "Georgia Peaches" in March on "American Idol."

They are amongst the major achievements for Carroll drummers who have played all over the world in the last decade.

The Super Bowl

Who performed: Staff Sgt. J.W. Sayre

When: Feb. 5

From: Westminster

School: Westminster High School

How he got there: Sayre enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2006. He has performed in various capacities within the Air Force ever since. He was chosen by his superiors to take part in the joint service honor guard for the Super Bowl. He was one of two active duty service members that performed in the group.

Cool perk of the gig: Sayre got to watch the Super Bowl after he performed. He also managed to get on national television for a few seconds prior to Clarkson singing the "National Anthem."

His words: "It just feels kind of funny when you are in the military and people make a big deal out of being on television because this is what I do. It's about honoring the colors. It's about honoring our service members who are deployed and have died serving our country. It's not about me getting 10 seconds of fame."


The Grammy Awards

Who performed: Matt Billingslea

When: Jan. 31, 2010

From: Westminster

School: Westminster High

How he got there: Billingslea is the former touring drummer for Lady Antebellum, the top country group in the genre today. Lady A was invited to perform their hit single, "Need You Now," which went on to win Grammy Awards the following year for Record and Song of the Year.

Cool perk of the gig: While he performed with Lady Antebellum, he got to perform before 50,000 to 60,000 in stadium atmospheres on occasion, including at the CMA Festival in Nashville. He also got to perform at the legendary Grand Ole Opry in Nashville 5-10 times.

His words: "The Grammys, I think, are on a whole different scale. I like country music but not nearly as much as some other genres. Just to be in the room where all music is honored, not just country music, is a big deal."

'American Idol'

Who performed: Adam Silverman

When: March 8

From: Westminster

School: Westminster High

How he got there: Currently, Silverman is the drummer for former "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina. She was invited to perform her debut single, "Georgia Peaches," on this year's season. So Alaina, Silverman and the rest of the band got the chance to be on stage performing for a live audience and a TV audience of millions.

Cool perk of the gig: It was the first major television appearance for Silverman. After he performed, he looked down. Longtime "Idol" judge Randy Jackson gave him a thumbs-up, a memory that he said he would never forget.

His words: "In the studio, you don't really think about how many people are watching. You are more focused on playing with each other and working with Lauren. You see the crowd that's inside the studio. It's intimate in that setting, but it was really cool to see the judges out there."

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