Friday, October 21st was the 87th Annual East Los Angeles (ELA) Classic. The ELA Classic is the biggest High School rivalry game west of the Mississippi: Roosevelt Roughriders from Boyle Heights vs. Garfield Bulldogs from East Los Angeles. The annual game normally takes place at East Los Angeles College which holds 22 thousand fans, but 4 of the 87 games have taken place at The Los Angeles Coliseum.
I am a proud alum of Roosevelt High School, Class of 1994, and I attended the game last year with my childhood friend, Boyle Heights Native, will.i.am. Fun Fact: Will’s Mom attended Roosevelt and band member Taboo’s Mom attended Garfield. During the 2021 game, Will expressed immediate interest in being a part of the event, so beginning January 2022, we started meeting with Roosevelt, this year’s ELA Classic host. We were excited to publicly announce that the 2022 Halftime performers –at what would be the most epic ELA game to ever be played –were the Black Eyed Peas!
NKSFB generously purchased 150 tickets so that the firm’s employees and families could enjoy the momentous event with client, Will Adams. I knew it was an amazing production and was so excited for everyone to see it after having the pleasure of producing/directing the show alongside will.i.am for months prior to the big day!
In September, will.i.am invited both high schools’ Marching Bands and Spirit Squads to perform with the Black Eyes Peas for their final song. A special Marching Band arrangement was made, and with only 2 short weeks to rehearse, I choreographed the routine for both spirit squads. It was the first time ever that the two rival schools performed a Halftime show together. It was an amazing experience for me personally to go back to my local high school to coach 60+ kids, and then go to Garfield to coach 100+ kids.
When the big day came, NKSFB had its own section, on the 45-yard line with a great view. Not only was it a great Halftime Show, but as a surprise to the Peas, and as a thank you to Will, I was able to coordinate with some amazing folks to present BEP with the Keys to the City!
At 5:45pm in the VIP Reception that took place at the 1923 Club at the very top of the Sky Boxes, Council Member Currin Price presented BEP with their Key and Certificates. With a record breaking 40 thousand fans in attendance, and the game clock buzzer going off, L.A.’s own Big Boy took to the centerfield to kick-off the Black Eyed Peas amazing and unforgettable 30-minute show.
The Marching Bands and Spirit Groups took to the field and danced while waiting for their cue. Fans also danced in the stands while singing along to the music, and drones above the coliseum formed beautiful images in the sky while fans screamed in amazement.
The Peas made their way down to the field to perform their final song, “I Gotta Feeling”. The bands played and pom poms sparkled all over the field -it was definitely a GOOD NIGHT! Although my Alma Mater, Roosevelt, did not win the game, BOYLE HEIGHTS WON.
For one epic night, our Schools became one, and we were all winners! Thank you to will.i.am for his generous heart and thank you to the Black Eyed Peas for making the 2022 ELA Classic such a night for all the Boyle Heights community and the City of Los Angeles!