Whitman Band Makes TV Debut

Walt Whitman High School band members sit on the stage of Bishop Loughlin High School during a shooting for CBS’s “Elementary.” (Photo/Allan Deitz)

Walt Whitman High School band members sit on the stage of Bishop Loughlin High School during a shooting for CBS’s “Elementary.” (Photo/Allan Deitz)

Members of the Walt Whitman High School Band had an opportunity to do something far from elementary on Monday. Twenty members of the group appeared in a shooting for CBS’s Sherlock Holmes reinvention “Elementary.”

“I got a phone call at like 3:30 in the afternoon [on Thursday]. It was from a casting agent who had been referred to me by one of our fellow employees here at Whitman,” Whitman band director Allan Deitz said.

The woman who called Deitz was talent manager and consultant Candice Cain, who had relatives in the district. She said that "Elementary," starring Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller, was in need of a high school band.

“It was urgent because they had booked members of a college marching band for a scene and they wanted high school [kids],” he said.

From there, Deitz sprang into action, providing section leader Brittany White with a list of names of students to get in touch with. White delivered, and 20 students on Monday headed to Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn to shoot the scene.

“They were even more excited because I kind of led them on and such and then I said, ‘By the way, they want to pay you for this.’ They paid them like $200 each,” the band director said.

The shoot itself took about three hours, during which the students pantomimed playing “The Thunderer” by John Philip Sousa while a recording of the song played to accommodate actors’ lines.

“Johnny Lee Miller did come up and talk to some of the kids; he talked to the tuba player because he’d never seen that instrument before, a marching tuba,” he said.

Though Deitz did not know the air date of the episode they shot for, he said it was for the current, third season of the show.