All Together Now! Alabamians Try for World’s Largest Rock Band

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Hundreds of people showed up in Auburn to help break the Guinness World Record for largest rock band. The number to beat was 953.
Hundreds of people showed up in Auburn to help break the Guinness World Record for largest rock band. The number to beat was 953.

Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM

In a parking lot in downtown Auburn on a hot August night, musicians of all ages plugged in, turned on and tuned up to play Sister Hazel’s “All for You.” Singer Jane Kuehne had been rehearsing the song for months. She was one of more than 1,300 hundred people expected to take part in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for largest rock band. There were drummers playing syncopated rhythms, guitar players whose amps went to eleven, violins, saxophones, ukuleles, and even accordions. Everyone was drenched in sweat and waited eagerly to be part of the group that puts Auburn on the world record map.

Singer Jane Kuehne rehearsing "All for You" at her church ahead of the world record attempt.
Singer Jane Kuehne rehearsing “All for You” at her church ahead of the world record attempt.
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM

Spicer’s Music store led the effort, and this was the second time the group tried to break this record. Last year, 850 people participated in singing “Sweet Home Alabama.” Unbeknownst to them, a group in China attempted to break the same record with a 953-member rock band. And that was the number to beat this year. Then came some bad news.

“We had 1,350 people pre-register. Right now, we’re at 575 people. So, I say that to say that we did not break the record,” said Tim Spicer, owner of Spicer’s Music and the event organizer.

One of a handful of violinists who showed up to take part in the event.
One of a handful of violinists who showed up to take part in the event.
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM

He said timing was a big factor. The event was originally scheduled for June 21, on Make Music day, a global event celebrating music. But Alabama was hit by Tropical Storm Cindy that day, and the event was postponed to August 22. That meant a lower turnout since school was back in session. But, as they say, the show must go on. So, they played.

Spicer says the world record attempt was secondary to what was really important to him.

“The world record didn’t quite work out, but the important thing is that 575 people came out to support music and to play one song together and that made it worth it,” he said.

Kuehne agreed, saying despite the failed attempt she was happy to see so many people come out and support music.

“I’m not really heartbroken,” she said. “I mean, it would’ve been great to break the record. But, it’s more of, to me, it’s about the experience. I had a good time.”

Spicer said they definitely plan to try to take that world record from China next year. And Kuehne said she’ll be there again sweating, singing and smiling.

Participants were broken into sections by instrument.
Participants were broken into sections by instrument.
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM
Sister Hazel leading the charge on "All for You" while participants played along.
Sister Hazel leading the charge on “All for You” while participants played along.
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM
Organizers Tim and Lana Spicer take a selfie after the long, hot day. Tim conducted the group from about three stories up on this scissor lift.
Organizers Tim and Lana Spicer take a selfie after the long, hot day. Tim conducted the group from about three stories up on this scissor lift.
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM
Sister Hazel's Ken Block (second from left) and Drew Copeland (second from right) taking pics with fans.
Sister Hazel’s Ken Block (second from left) and Drew Copeland (second from right). The two led participants in the playing of their song “All for You.”
Esther Ciammachilli,WBHM