Meet The UMN Marching Band: Haley Griffin, Cymbals

Nov 20, 2019

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, cymbalist Haley Griffin talks about transitioning from color guard to drumline, the UMMB bond, and the exciting drumline feature that will be included in the Indoor Concert.

Tell us a bit about your role in the band.
I am a junior and it is my third year in the band and I play the cymbals in the drumline!!

When did you start playing your instrument? Did you always see yourself in a marching band?
I actually only started playing cymbals my freshman year of college! In high school, I was in the color guard and did that through my freshman year here at the U. I started playing cymbals outside of marching band in the pep band during my freshman year here. I had never played an instrument and didn’t know how to read music. I thought I could give it a shot and I auditioned for the drumline for my sophomore year and made it! I always saw myself in color guard and never would have thought I would be in the band and wearing the band uniform, but here we are. :)

We understand the Marching Band includes students from more than 100 different majors. What is your major?
I am majoring in Family Social Science with a concentration in Family and Community Engagement, and I am minoring in Health and Wellness Promotion.

How do you manage rehearsals, performances, etc while also playing the role as student?
It can be hard at certain times of the semester but at the end of the day, I think it helps my grades. When I am busy and have lots of things to do, I can usually manage my time better. I also have many friends in band so it is nice to go to rehearsal and see my friends every day!

Can you reflect a bit on the process of preparing for an event or performance?
We learn a lot of what we do during the summer in our band camp, “Spat Camp.” To prepare for our shows, we have rehearsal Monday through Thursday for about 2 hours. On game weeks, we have rehearsals on Friday night and Saturday morning. The drumline and color guard also have extra rehearsals every Wednesday for about 3 hours. We work really hard to bring a great show for game day.

What is your favorite part about being in the band?
I think my favorite part is getting to have a family at the University. We spend so much time together and it creates a bond for us. I also love the amazing opportunities it has opened for me like the Superbowl, countless amazing gamedays, traveling to bowl games, etc.

Were you involved in the Justin Timberlake Super Bowl appearance? If so, how was that experience?
Yes I was! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I won’t forget it. It was a TON of work but it was cool to see how a production like that was planned and organized.

Are you going to the 2020 Rose Bowl?
Knock on wood. I’ve heard the parade is about 6 miles long!! We have been told to start going to the gym to prepare. It would be amazing to get to go to the Rose Bowl.

Do you have a favorite song to play or perform?
My favorite song to perform is “Sing, Sing, Sing” (which we will be playing at the Indoor Concert!).

How do you perform when it’s so cold at games??
When I am in the stands, I try to move around a lot and cheer really hard for the team. And LOTS of layers!!

What is something that a non-Marching Band civilian would be most shocked to know about the Marching Band?
We prepare a new halftime show at each home football game!

What are you most looking forward to with the 58th Annual Indoor Marching Band Concert?
I am excited to perform the drumline feature which is where the drumline gets their own part in the show and will perform a song we have been working on the whole semester!

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