The average person has no idea what a member of a college marching band goes through during the course of typical game day. In fact the average person more often than not thinks the students show up, put on their uniforms and put on a show during the game. I can assure you that if it were that simple EVERYONE would be in a college marching band….but it is NOT!
Today began with band members putting on full uniforms to take school buses down from north campus to south campus at 1:30 PM. Rehearsal began at 2:00 PM. Oh and it was 93 degrees with 80% humidity–you know, that special DELAWARE blend of humidity and heat: moist and oppressive. Oh, and yes, rehearsal was on artificial turf.
After the band arrived for rehearsal the first order of business was to take OFF the uniforms in an effort to keep the band members cooler….on artificial turf and in 93 degree heat and humidity. And rehearsal began: a THREE HOUR FULL OUT REHEARSAL! Go on, strap a 40 lb set of tenor drums to your shoulders, or a 60 lb sousaphone around your body, or just hold up a 3 lb flute for THREE SOLID HOURS IN 93 DEGREE HEAT AND HUMIDITY AND **RUN* * TO THE START OF EVERY SET POINT WHILE PLAYING MUSIC, I DARE YOU!
Water breaks were every 20-25 minutes and then, it was time for a pizza dinner, more water and an hour of rest….only to have to stand up, put on 10-15 lbs of lined polyester / wool blend uniform coats and pants, as well as a bucket hat with a 14″ feather that doesn’t breathe!
Now play at the President’s Tailgate party, march to the other end of the stadium, march down the concrete concourse playing the Fight Song, and stand in the endzone corners waiting for the start of your PREGAME show. Pregame consists of two school songs, the National Anthem and the Alma Mater. A 9 minute show that moves up and down a football field at 136 beats per minute.
Next, play short tunes in the stands during the 1st and 2nd quarters, and then head down onto the field again for HALFTIME. The halftime show is a 6 minute timeframe with music ranging from 138 – 208 beats per minute (saxophones in WAMLAW!) Remember, you’re wearing a lined coat and bibber pants in 90 degree heat (yes the temperature dropped for halftime a whole 3 degrees!) and essentially powerwalking for 6 solid minutes. (If that doesn’t seem like much, put on your winter coat and give it a whirl outside tomorrow afternoon.)
Ok, if you’re a brass player you now get to RUN THE STADIUM STAIRS and play to ALL THE SECTIONS of seats in the stadium for 3rd quarter….remember what you’re wearing?! Next, return to your seats and finish out the game by playing more short tunes in the stand.
Think you’re done?! Nope! Now it is time for the POST GAME SHOW! And because it is not under a time restraint, it’s a 9 1/2 minute show!! But it’s alright because the temperatures have dropped into the low 80’s and there’s a breeze….a HOT breeze, but a breeze nonetheless. Finish the day with a standstill of the band tune and WALK about 300 – 400 yards to the school buses that will take you back to north campus.
Total time to execute: 10 hours and 15 minutes.
And you know what? After the performance the UDMB gave at pregame, halftime and postgame tonight, IT WAS WORTH ALL THE WORK!
Congratulations on an incredibly successful first game in the 2010 season!