Outback Bowl 2014: The HMB Experience
Being a member of The Hawkeye Marching Band (HMB for short), I got the privilege to travel down to Tampa, Florida to perform, and watch the Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl! Winter break isn’t even over yet, but I can tell that this trip will be the highlight! I couldn’t feel luckier that I got to go to such a beautiful (and warm!) place with some of my best friends.
The band’s itinerary was packed. Our first performance was the Outback Bowl Beach day. I have to say, trying to march in the sand was quite the experience…I can only hope next time maybe we won’t wear our shoes. We all had to dumped sand out of our shoes afterwards! But that is a small price to pay to say I’ve been able to perform with the HMB on the beach! Needless to say, it was an awesome experience.
The next say was our busiest, we had a total of 4 performance, plus a morning rehearsal! After we rehearsed, the first performance of the day was “Battle of the Bands” at Busch Gardens. Unfortunately we didn’t get to enjoy any of the rides, but it was cool to see the LSU band up close and personal! Up next was the New Years Eve Parade in Ybor City. I definitely think the HMB rocked this one out, including our next performance at the Band Blast immediately following the parade! I definitely think even though the LSU band is a lot bigger with a much thicker sound, we definitely have more fun, and have the crowd on our side. They are much more a precision band, whereas the HMB just has fun with it. We still look good, but we have a great time doing it! “Party rocking” while the LSU band stood frozen at attention was definitlely a highlight of the trip for me.
After the Parade and Band Blast, we headed over to the Hawkeye Huddle! Tons of Hawkeye fans gathered to cheer on our Hawks, and the band did a brief performance. It’s such an amazing feeling to have so many fellow fans rooting for you as you play the school fight songs.
Even though it was New Years Eve, we got back to our hotel so late, we really didn’t even have time to celebrate. Luckily my room had a balcony facing the beach where the New Years fireworks were being set off! So at midnight I watched the fireworks, and hit the hay almost immediately following. With an early morning the next day, plus the game, I wanted to make sure I got enough rest! Plus after such a busy day I was exhausted anyways.
So on to that, game day in Tampa, Florida! It was raining, so the Hawkeye Marching Band, became the Hawkeye Poncho Band. During our regular season we have insulated black raincoats, but since it’s warmer in Florida we did not bring those with. Instead we used some clear/white ponchos. Marching on a wet field is always an interesting experience, there is always the sinking fear that you’re going to slip and fall! But overall we gave a great performance!
Up next was halftime, I won’t go into details, but for me personally, it was single-handedly my worst individual performance of my college career. But I suppose everyone has to have one of those at some point right? But the HMB performed Thriller, which is always a crowd favorite. I definitely think we showed up the LSU band at least a little bit…
Obviously, and unfortunately, the Hawks lost to the LSU Tigers. If you ask anyone in the band, you’ll probably get a grumbly/angry response saying it was probably the worst officiated bowl game they’ve ever seen. But regardless of that fact, it’s always a great time to cheer on our Hawkeyes! Not to mention the ratio of Hawks fans to LSU fans was hilarious. Let’s just say, Iowa fans travel very well even though we are probably about twice the distance than Louisiana fans.
This bowl trip is something I’ll never forget. Whether is be the performances, or singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” by heart on the bus back to the hotel. This band, these people, will forever be in my heart. I love this band, and I love this school. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Now and forever, GO HAWKS!