Jared Alston has been playing the piano since he was 5 years old, but recently learned how to play the tuba — just for a chance to be featured on an episode of “Madam Secretary.”
Six students — including Alston, a senior jazz major with a concentration in piano — had the opportunity to showcase their musical talent on the series. The show is a political drama on CBS that follows the life of the secretary of state. The scenes were recorded in November, but aired on Jan. 15.
Alston is not a member of the Diamond Marching Band, but said he enjoyed the experience.
“I think the biggest thing I took away from it is that the acting world, the film world is very similar to music in the sense that people don’t see all that goes into what a performance is,” Alston said.
Lance Laster, a first-year graduate student and a trombone player since the sixth grade, also had the opportunity to travel to New York for the show.
Matthew Brunner, director of athletic bands and associate director of bands, is in his ninth year at Temple. He helped to arrange the students’ visit with the show’s music coordinator from New York City.
Brunner’s connection to the coordinator began when Temple musicians were involved in the shooting of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a 2013, award-winning film based on true story of a fraudulent stock-broker in New York City.
“Most people just see these people on TV and they don’t really get to meet them as people, and the kids in the band have gotten several opportunities to do that and see that,” Brunner said.
The scene was a surprise celebration for the secretary of state and the prime minister of China in an airport in Togo, Africa, Brunner said.
The students said they spent long hours on set and had to take multiple shots for three scenes. Alston and Laster had to be in New York City at 6 a.m. and were not finished until 4 p.m., they said.
The students learned the required pieces for the show, the National Anthem and the Chinese National Anthem, during the car ride to the set, Laster said.
“The hardest part was probably just getting up early and just standing for that long amount of time that we did have to stand for with the tuba,” Alston said.
They said they were thankful for the opportunity to be included in the production and associate with actors on the show. Téa Leoni, the show’s lead actress, talked to the students several times during the filming, Laster said.
“It was all worth it in the end,” Alston said.