Game Day: The Hawkeye Marching Band Experience.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be in the Hawkeye Marching Band? Well now you can experience just that! I was given the amazing opportunity to wear a GoPro camera on my shako (that’s band ‘slang’ for hat)! Watch the video and see what we do to prepare for kickoff in Kinnick!
So as you might have guessed, this was the day the HMB performed THRILLER! Unfortunately the camera died before I could record halftime (I’ll share more about that later), but I still managed to film our early morning! So I’ll give the run-down of our day!
I personally wake up at 5:00am to start getting ready. That is basically just my everyday getting ready routine, just a lot earlier (and slower paced…). We leave around 6:00am to get to Kinnick. Then we are off and down into the stadium! Since it’s so early, it can be pretty dark, which is not helpful in the whole waking-up process.
We always start off by warming-up in sections. We play through the music and correct any last minute errors. Then to really kick things off we march our pregame show! High stepping early in the morning is always quite the task. Then next up is halftime of course! In the video you can see us rehearsing the the Thriller dance! Once morning rehearsal is over we all gather around the ladder where our drum major, Quentin Marquez, gives us a game day speech! That includes the obvious, getting us pumped, but also some other random HMB traditions which include, a chant, and a game day prediction from Quentin, where he tries to predict who will win, and what the final score will be!
After the speech is what I like to call “The Running of the Food.” This is where the band sprints out of Kinnick and up those dreadful stairs to get back to the rec to eat breakfast! Typically we have bagels, but at this game it was mini sandwiches! I’d say the biggest reason band members run back is to get the best choice of fruit! Because frankly if you’re at the end you really don’t get the good stuff. Then once we have breakfast we usually have about 30minutes to an hour of downtime aka nap time! It really just depends on the game, and the show we’re doing!
From there we perform in our rec show before we march over to Kinnick stadium. In the show we perform our “series”, play our pregame music, halftime music, and some other choice selections.The Iowa Spirit Squads also join us in this performance!
After the rec show we line up to head on over to Kinnick! Marching there we do “The Series.” The Series is a long drum cadence where band members have memorized specific choreography and horn movements. It’s one of my personal favorites. Once we enter Kinnick we head straight down into the tunnel, and continue some HMB traditions! We always sing the Alma Mater, and Quentin conducts it from the stairwell at the end of the tunnel. From there we get into our separate lines to march out onto the field itself. While waiting in those lines the trombone section plays a special song that the entire band sings and dances to! It’s a great way to get excited for the game. From there we start heading out! For good luck you have to make sure to slap the entrance onto the field! (this may be a little more challenging if you’re on the shorter side like me…)
Then here comes the obvious! The pregame show! I love being one of the first people to run on the field. I run straight towards my friend Brennen and we always like to make faces at each other! Then we proceed to play the show and eventually condense into a block where we bring on Herky and the football team! The truck video is one of the most exciting parts. It’s hard to see in the video, but there is nothing like seeing the crowd explode, than from on the field itself.
Now here comes the most frustrating part of my GoPro experience. The camera died RIGHT as I was preparing for halftime. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry while marching. As I was leaving the stands I turned the camera on, and once I was on the sideline my friend pointed out there was no red recording light! So I tried to just turn it back on, but it wasn’t working. Then I started to panic. I ripped off my shako to try and solve the problem, all while slowly running out of time because we were about to march on. Eventually angry and defeated, I put my shako back on and had to accept the fact that I was not destined to film halftime. Needless to say I was extremely disappointed. In that moment of time I had some choice words for that camera, but I don’t need to share those here…
Overall I’m really happy with how the video turned out. I think it’s really unique to see what the band goes through before the game. I can’t thank the Office of Admissions enough for allowing me to use the GoPro camera to record my experience. It’s something I’ll be able to look back on years from now, and re-live my “glory days” if you will. This is potentially my last year in the Hawkeye Marching Band, so I’m glad I was able to share what it’s like to be in the band!