The 58th Annual Marching Band Indoor Concert is quickly approaching on Nov 23-24 at Northrop. In anticipation of the performance, we asked five University of Minnesota Marching Band (UMMB) members a few questions to delve more into the experiences of and process behind the Pride of Minnesota.
In this interview, clarinetist and team lead Brooke Linzmeier discusses the endless support of UMMB members, layering up for cold performances, and her excitement to play for young students at the Indoor Concert.
Tell us a bit about your role in the band.
This year I am a fourth-year member of the band and the team lead of the clarinet section. Being a team lead means that I work on a leadership team with four other leaders from my section to teach marching fundamentals, lead sectionals, and make decisions for the section. I am also the primary form of communication from our section to the directors.
When did you start playing your instrument? Did you always see yourself in a marching band?
I started playing the clarinet in 6th grade, so I’ve been playing it for literally a decade. That’s kind of crazy! I’ve been involved in marching band since I was in 7th grade, so college marching band was kind of a no-brainer for me. I think that the reason why I have stayed in marching band for this long is that it has always been a place where I’ve felt supported and valued and I’ve been able to work hard and have fun at the same time.
We understand the Marching Band includes students from more than 100 different majors. What is your major?
I am an Instrumental Music Education major, so kind of what is “expected” of someone who is so heavily involved in the Marching Band. But, the percentage of Marching Band members that are music education majors is a lot smaller than you’d think, and I think it is so cool that there are more than 100 majors represented in the band.
Can you reflect a bit on the process of preparing for an event or performance?
The process of preparing for an event or performance for the band involves rehearsing two hours a day almost every day depending on whether there is a game that weekend or not. These rehearsals include rehearsing music, learning halftime drill, and learning the pregame show. For me, this process also involves a lot of time outside of rehearsal. In the week or so leading up to a performance, I spend at least an hour a day practicing my music so I can have it memorized and ready for the show.
The day of a game is jam-packed. We start rehearsing around 6 hours before kick-off, depending on the time of the game, and are busy all the way up to the time of the post-game show. On game day you can see the band at morning rehearsal, performing in the tailgate lots, marching to 3M Arena at Mariucci to perform at Gopher Spirit Rally with the spirit squad, performing a pregame show, performing a halftime show, and playing a postgame show. And in between all that we have to get into uniform, eat, maybe sneak in a quick nap, and watch a football game. It’s a really full, really exciting day.
What is your favorite part about being in the band?
My favorite thing about band is the amount of love and support there is among the members of the band. I think everyone in band can admit that school and band get hard every now and then, but knowing that there will always be people that have your back and want to help you is really uplifting. The people I have met in the band are some of the most amazing people I have met in my life. They inspire me daily and I could not be more thankful to have them in my life.
Were you involved in the Justin Timberlake Super Bowl appearance? If so, how was that experience?
I did, I was a part of the “mirrors cast” with the other members of the flute, clarinet, color guard and twirlers sections and what seemed like a million high school dancers. I’ll be one of the first to admit that this experience was not at all what I was expecting. It required a lot of being able to go with the flow, which is not always something I am good at, and it was hard to not be identified as a part of the band since I was not playing an instrument. But in the end, the day of the performance was extremely exciting and it is something I will never forget––specially since I got to keep my mirror prop!
Are you going to the 2020 Rose Bowl?
Maybe? That would be kind of wild as I have performed at the Rose Bowl once before with my high school band. It would be super cool to close out my college marching band career by performing at what I think is the most well-known bowl game. Fingers crossed that the Gophers keep playing well!
Do you have a favorite song to play or perform?
“Sing, Sing, Sing.” It’s been my favorite since my first year in band.
How do you perform when it’s so cold at games??
I wear a lot of layers, like A LOT. The last game I wore two shirts, a long pair of pants, and three pairs of socks under my uniform. The hardest thing about playing the clarinet is that your fingers have to be exposed to seal the keys to be able to make noise. Last year we found out that if you cover your gloves with electrical tape the keys will be able to seal, so now I wear up to four pairs of gloves to stay warm.
What are you most looking forward to with the 58th Annual Indoor Marching Band Concert?
Indoor is my favorite part of the marching band season, so I’m really excited for everything. The atmosphere of rehearsing Northrop in the week leading up to the performances is really exciting because a whole season’s worth of hard work is being put together into one performance. One of my favorite things about Indoor is the feeling you get waiting backstage before the show starts. Knowing that the auditorium is full of people who support the band and are excited about what we do really amps me up and makes me want to put everything I have into the performance. This year I am most excited for our Friday matinee show because the audience is going to be full of students from grades 3-12. I can’t wait to show these students how fun marching band is and how rewarding it is to stay involved in music after graduating high school.