Iowa’s marching band

This is in response to Jon Bottema’s Nov. 21 letter “Not in our house.” The Iowa band was invited with open, welcoming arms last spring, long before we knew what a great team the Hawkeye’s would be this year or how many Iowa fans this game would draw. But the Iowa band would have been invited regardless of their football team’s ability.

Inviting a band to visit is the exact opposite of what a “second-rate” university would do. It emulates the Big Ten spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. We shouldn’t allow our emotions of a healthy rivalry to grow unchecked into a seething hatred for another Big Ten school.

Big Ten bands visit each other all the time. We had also planned to have Illinois’ band come this season, but that had to be cancelled due to the Twins playoff games. Many people do not understand the respect that marching bands in this conference have for each other, even toward our arch rival band to the east.

We all understand the amount of work that students put in, and the free time in their lives that is sacrificed to being in band. We were extremely happy to host the Iowa band and share the field with them. Friday night before the game, we stuck around after our rehearsal to watch theirs and socialized afterward. We smiled, joked and commented on the differences in each band’s “Big Ten style” marching. Everyone had a good time.

Gophers fans should be glad we invited another Big Ten band to play. If nothing else, spectators had a chance to really see what a great, first-rate band we have here at the University, a band that rivals all others in this conference. We are more than willing to host any band, anytime of the year, no matter what Ö except for the Wisconsin band, but that’s a story for another day.

Ryan Lear, Matt Schuelka, senior members of the 111th University of Minnesota Marching Band