New band members prepare for festivities of ‘Stooge Week’

by Mark Baumgarten

At the mention of the word “Homecoming,” many students think of football, parades, parties — and family reunions.
For many members of the University Marching Band, Homecoming Week is a family affair.
While the rest of the University saturates itself in Homecoming themes, new and veteran marching band members will be gearing up for their annual family shindig.
Starting Monday, new band members will be initiated into the marching band lifestyle through a tradition called “Stooge Week.”
College of Liberal Arts freshman Tom Brantman is one of many new members wondering what is in store for him.
“I’m expecting some light-hearted harassment,” said Brantman, “but it seems like a time to get to know one another better.”
Band members said Stooge Week, traditionally set during Homecoming, gives all the band members a chance to let loose and get to know one another before one of their busiest weekends.
“This weekend is going to be crazy,” said College of Liberal Arts junior Erin Callahan. Friday night’s bonfire kicks off the festivities, which continue with Saturday’s parade at 9 a.m., a performance on the Metrodome plaza at 10:10 a.m., and culminate when the Gophers football team takes the field against Michigan State.
The arrival of the Alumni Band on Saturday completes the marching band “family reunion.” More than 100 former marching band members will have the chance to break out their instruments, give the current band members a few tips, and maybe show that the groove doesn’t disappear after graduation, said Marching Band Director Jerry Luckhardt.
“It really is a kind of passed-down heritage,” Luckhardt said.