After a decade, U marching band to release album Friday

Amy Hackbarth

  Jason Sprenger said he is proud to be in the University marching band and wants other people to know it.

?We want people to see the enthusiasm we have for what we do,? said Sprenger, a rank lieutenant in the trumpet section. ?This CD is one expression of that.?

The University marching band will release ?Are You Ready?? Friday, its first album in a decade.

Selections on the first half of the album will consist of school songs and traditional music. The second half will contain half-time selections such as show tunes, swing music and Latin and Spanish melodies.

?We want it to be something that students could pop in when they?re tailgating before the game,? said Jerry Luckhardt, band director.

While the album includes songs from every year since 1992, the majority of songs came from last year?s band. Those songs were recorded in Northrop Auditorium in November 2000.

The band will celebrate its new album in a release party Friday at noon on the front steps of Northrop Auditorium and will play songs featured on the album.

?It?s supposed to be a pretty big deal,? Sprenger said. ?We?ll be in uniform and everything.?

The CD release and party come as part of the marching band?s Homecoming celebrations. Some band members will also play at the pepfest Friday night. On Saturday the band will lead the homecoming parade at 9 a.m. As usual, the band will perform at the Gophers football game Saturday night.

Homecoming activities coincide with Stooge Week, a marching band ?educational experience? that matches older band members with newcomers.

?Vets are paired with rookies,? said Jen Josephson, a music therapist sophomore who plays the tenor saxophone. ?They call it an `educational experience,? but we really do silly tasks and find things out about the University.?

At the start of Stooge Week, band newcomers are each given a wooden paddle to decorate.

?I?ll probably paint mine maroon and gold,? said Jeanne Boortz, a theater freshman who plays the tenor saxophone.

During the week, older band members ask band newcomers to find tidbits of personal and University information. Typical tasks include counting the number of chimneys on Folwell Hall or naming a band member?s three previous roommates.

?This is an opportunity for them to get to know us and to get to know things about the University,? Sprenger said.

If the newcomer finds the right answer, the older band member signs his or her paddle. Most newcomers get approximately 15 signatures, Sprenger said.

Sprenger said he had 35 signatures on his paddle: ?But that?s quite a lot, really.?