From football field to concert hall

The Marching Band gets some personal attention with its indoor concert this week

Katrina Wilber

The last home football game was Saturday, but the season isn’t over for the University Marching Band.

Another week of high-stepping, keeping in time and staying in tune ” all at the same time ” doesn’t bother the Marching Band’s more than 300 members.

This week, they’re the focus. Their months of practice and preparation culminate in an annual indoor concert that gives the band an opportunity to be the star instead of a supporting role.

This may be the band’s 44th annual concert, but it’s the first for rookie Ashley Dahlke.

“It’s great to play at football games, but it’ll be incredible to have people listening whose sole purpose for being there is to hear the Minnesota Marching Band,” Dahlke said.

During the indoor concert, the band does not go through the familiar drill routine seen at football games, said sophomore band member Kelsey Mosser. “But we still march into the auditorium with cadences, yelling and having a grand time enjoying what we do.”

For those outside the close-knit realm of band, it can be hard to comprehend why the members stick with it.

During football season, members put in more than 500 hours of service for one academic credit. They march for hours at a time to keep in prime condition. They energize a stadium of football fans for a full four quarters. They cut their summers short to get a head start on the season.

“It’s exhausting and an insane amount of work,” Mosser said, “but we all do it because we want to be here.”

Mosser marched with the flutes last year, but switched to the drumline this season. She’s one of those “crazy drummers” who, for an 11 a.m. football game, are in uniform and practicing six hours prior to kickoff.

“I love being on drumline, and it’s just fantastic to hear and see them live,” she said.

The dedication of the band members is evident. Mosser’s favorite aspect of the football season, for example, is the pregame show.

“It’s all about traditions from the Marching Band and the University packed into 17 minutes of physical hell,” she said.

Northrop Auditorium, the concert’s venue, offers a more intimate space for the band to perform than the Metrodome does.

“The indoor concert is much more personal,” said junior trombonist Allen Mestad. “The band remains seated . . . and is elevated on Northrop stage with numerous screens and lights that truly enhance the concert.”

The changes in venue and theme are the biggest differences between football games and the indoor concert.

“(This) definitely showcases the musical ability of the band,” Dahlke said. “And you can hear the music and full ensemble for all it’s worth.”