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.
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.
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.