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Monday, September 1, 2014

Inside the College Marching Band

Pictures from my personal library @tatershell

Let's talk about one of my favorite parts of college football...the college marching band! Klell and others have been extremely gracious in previous posts about the band. 

Now, I love the Auburn band. My parents were in the Auburn band. They met there as a matter of fact. I wouldn't be here without it! 

I was in the band in college, but not at Auburn. I went to undergrad at Southern Miss. The band there was and is very large and important to the school. I loved every single second of it, but I am not going to lie, there were many times where the band might feel a little unappreciated. It is a lot of work. 

Last night, as I rode Tiger Transit back to Facilities parking area, I saw the band walking back to the band room/dorm/car, etc. A couple of girls about 13 or 14 years old commented on them walking with their heavy instruments. Of course, they were soaked to the core, even with the awesome ponchos. 

Can I tell you a little about how exhausting game day is for a band member? On Friday nights before the game, we had  A/B groups for 'Friday Nights at the Fountain', which was a community wide pep rally.  (Obviously held at the University Fountain). 

Sometimes, the football team couldn't even come because it came after their curfew.  This was after practice on Fridays. On game days, we had an early morning rehearsal or walk through. There were games where it was really early.  Sometimes we were required to go in small groups around tailgate areas and play. 

Depending on the time of the game, we had very little time before we were required to be in uniform for Eagle Walk. (You can guess) Eagle Walk is a little different from Tiger Walk in that the band, color guard, Dixie Darlings and some others did an actual parade around campus before coming to the 'tunnel' where the football team would join us. 

After Eagle Walk, we would get ready for pre-game. Then the game, halftime, game (no quarters off in college band) came before what we called 'The Fifth Quarter' where we played some of our halftime music and other crowd favorites.  Fifth quarter was actually one of my favorite things we did. 

Most of our family and friends would come stand on the field while we played the favorites in the stands. Then the director gave some instructions about practice the next week. For us, it was 3 days a week for away games we were NOT going to and 4 days a week for home games or away trips we where we were going.  As you saw last night, the band stays out in all sorts of weather. Perk? Awesome ponchos.  

Even with ponchos, try to picture being wet in thick uniforms after sitting in baking sun!! Now when all this was finally done, you hike back to the music building to put away instruments that are larger. If you played a smaller instrument, you usually just took it with you. We weren't allowed to park anywhere near the stadium, so we usually had a trek after a really long day.  None of this is meant as any complaint but I thought you might not know some of the things that go on game day.  

It was an incredible experience to be a part of things. I would not trade a single second of it, including playing in deluges, tropical storms, long bus trips, exhibition shows, or playing on a flooded field where the water was up to my ankle! I got to travel to a bunch of stadiums that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. 

We did exhibition shows at Saints games. I also got to travel to places including Ireland and England. So the next time you go to a game, make sure you remember the long day the band has already had before game time and give them a big cheer!

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