The U of M Marching Band’s Annual Indoor Concert is my favorite concert of the year-and that’s not just because I’m a member of band.
As a graduating senior, the Indoor Concert is one of my last hoorahs with the marching band and brings me a mix of emotions. A piece of me is sad that this will be one of my last performances with a group that I have come to love. The Pride of Minnesota is unique in its contribution to college students, its university, and its community. I have loved being an ambassador for the state of Minnesota and cannot think of a better representation than this group of friends. I will miss them and their dedication to excellence dearly. The other half of me is excited to share with family, friends, and strangers what I have been up to for the past four years. The Annual Indoor Concert is an inside look at the pride and pageantry of the 124th season.
The preparation for “Indoor,” as we call it, really begins in August, when we invite 100 new family members to TCF Bank Stadium for Spat Camp. During this two week camp, our rookies learn how to march our traditional 90-degree high step, learn music for our first pregame and halftime time shows, and even welcome the rest of their freshman class at convocation. The veterans join them for camp a few days later. Spat camp begins at 9:00 am and typically ends around 10:00 pm, with only a few water and meal breaks. Although camp may seem extensive, it’s the only way to make sure that the whole group is prepared for our first game and parade—all of which occur before the start of the school year.
Once the school year starts, the Marching Band rehearses anywhere from 8 to 12 hours per week (depending on the football schedule). The first half hour of practice includes a music rehearsal inside the Main Rehearsal Hall (MRH) at TCF. This is typically followed by marching rehearsal on the field. We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to practice on our performance field. In addition to the typical 4:15-6:00pm rehearsal time, each section also holds a weekly sectional to further work on music. Each section is structured a little differently, but most students participate in a “music check” where they must play their music from memory for a leader. This ensures that every individual has their music memorized before each show.
Monday, November 2nd began our Indoor Concert rehearsal schedule. We will rehearse nine separate times, totaling 18 hours, in preparation for the concert. Minimal time will be spent out on the field, and a vast majority of our time musically rehearsing the 40 tunes we plan to showcase. Not only will we be rehearsing the first five half time shows of the season, but also providing a preview to our sixth halftime show: Frontiers. The final dress rehearsal will take place on Friday, November 13th from 4:00-6:00 pm at Northrop.
One of the reasons that Indoor is so special this year is because it will be one of the final times that our current uniforms are worn. The 24-year-old uniforms debuted in 1992, our 100th season. Last year we started a campaign to raise $400,000 for new uniforms. Each uniform costs about $1,000 and we need 400 to properly fit the 320 member group. As of Saturday, October 31st, we were 83% of the way to our goal, and we hope that the Indoor Concert will help us raise the last 17%!
Thank you for your interest in the University of Minnesota Marching Band. I cannot wait to see you in just a few short weeks. Go Gophers and SKI-U-MAH!