From playing field to playing trumpet: Castle Rock teen plays dual roles
It’s almost halftime and Mason Alldredge, 16, a Castle View High School football player, is preparing to make some quick moves.
Such as making sure he accomplishes the hand-off — of his helmet — to his buddy Bevan Haycock, 16, a defensive back, who will grab it and take it into the locker room because Alldredge doesn’t have time to. He won’t be with the team for a while.
While the team heads into the locker room for some bench rest and coaching, Alldredge waits for another hand-off — from band buddy Brad Kahler, who is the one who has assembled Alldredge’s trumpet and gets it to Alldredge in time for him to perform.
And then Alldredge in his football uniform joins his other team on the football field — Castle View’s marching band.
The musical performance is eight minutes long. And then Alldredge runs to the locker room for the rest of the 15-minute halftime and the remains of the coach talk.
“I think it’s really cool,” said Haycock, keeper of Alldredge’s helmet, about Alldredge’s dual roles.
Haycock said Alldredge kind of bridges the gap between “two completely different groups of people. It’s good for the school, too … more power to him.”
It wasn’t Alldredge’s idea to do this.
School officials decided to change marching band practice time from a 6 p.m. start time to first period to make it easier for someone like Alldredge — who has daily 3:15 to 6 p.m. football practices — to participate, said his mom, Deana Alldredge.
They then tried to draft trumpet-player Alldredge. He eventually decided to try it since he could still do football.
“Football doesn’t last forever. I’ll always be able to play music,” said Alldredge, who is the grandson of Bobby Burnett, 70, of Castle Rock, the 1966 American Football League’s rookie of the year and a Buffalo Bills running back until he suffered a knee injury and later signed with the Denver Broncos in 1969.
Alldredge said that since getting involved in marching band this school year, he definitely has “a lot more respect for marching band kids.”
He said among other things, there’s learning routines, playing while marching and in a way people can hear, dance moves, having music memorized and flawless. “You’d be surprised how physically (taxing) it is … I get a sweat going,” said Alldredge, whose pads restrict some dance movements.
Alldredge, mainly a linebacker who plays on varsity and is captain on the junior varsity, said he has two football games weekly and a marching band competition. “It’s crazy how busy I’ve been.” But he’s a straight-A student, even so.
The day of the first 2013 home-game performance, he was advised to go through band practice in his football uniform, cleats, pads and all, so he could get used to performing in them. When he walked out dressed like that, band members started clapping.
“They’re very supportive of me,” Alldredge said.
Three junior varsity game times have been changed to accommodate Alldredge’s music schedule.
“For me, this was just the way it should be,” band director Mark Cellar told the News-Press. “When I came through school the band had students in every sport and we just made it work. For whatever reason, there hasn't been a lot of students doing both in recent years.
“It is not without challenges in jelling schedules and making concessions on both sides. But for the good of the students, it is worth it,” he said.
Cellar said the band students have been very supportive of Alldredge.
“I'm very proud of them.”
After an Arvada band competition, Alldredge literally marched off the field into his mom’s car to change from the band uniform and into his football attire as she drove for Castle Rock to get to a junior varsity game barely in time.
“I got a little choked up,” said Deana Alldredge, about looking in the rearview mirror and seeing her son already back in his football uniform with black grease under his eyes.
“I was thinking how proud of him I was for doing what he is doing … how happy I was that he was working so hard being a part of these two very different programs and making the sacrifice that he makes to do them both,” she said.
“It felt like a memory that I would never forget about the kind of person he is. As a parent, we don't always get those moments of feeling like maybe we have done a good job raising our kids so profoundly as that. But for some reason, there it was.”
Alldredge has one home game left this year, one more halftime performance — at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Douglas County High School stadium in Castle Rock, where Castle View plays its home games.