Your dreams were your ticket out

The Marching Band’s indoor concert features a drumline led by a familiar face

Katrina Wilber

Just think of it as a two-hour halftime show.

The University Marching Band presents its 43rd annual indoor concert this weekend. The program, called “Pride of Minnesota,” consists of a diverse variety of songs, from “Zip a Dee Doo Dah” and “My Favorite Things,” to songs from “Chicago” and The Beatles.

Oh, and don’t forget the famous set of school songs that includes the “Minnesota Rouser” and “Hail Minnesota.”

There’s a solo performance by acclaimed saxophonist and new School of Music faculty member Eugene Rousseau, and a series featuring the 22-member flagline.

The drumline also performs a five-minute feature, and the line’s prestigious reputation isn’t lost on instructor Kelley Lima.

Lima graduated from the University in 1996 with a degree in music education. He worked for the band that fall, took time off to work as a drummer in a rock band called Vertigo Joe and then returned to the University in 1998.

Some students enroll at the University specifically in hopes of making the Marching Band, but Lima simply enrolled out of convenience.

“I was like the other 50 percent of kids who didn’t know what they were going to do, so I figured the ‘U’ was a good choice,” Lima said.

He made another good choice when he took up the drums in fifth grade, thanks in part to another student’s delinquency.

“I told my band director I wanted to play percussion, but there were a lot of percussionists, so he gave me a saxophone instead,” he said. “That didn’t last too long, so I switched to baritone. A percussion kid got kicked out of the band for misbehaving, so I took his spot.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Lima played with a junior drum and bugle corps from Madison, Wis., that performed between 70 and 80 shows during the summer months. It’s not uncommon for University students in the Marching Band to do the same.

His drum and bugle corps background and the Marching Band’s indoor concert the previous year prompted Lima to join the band. He spent four years in the drumline and rose to the rank of section leader before becoming an instructor after graduation.

The Marching Band has more than 300 members this year, and Lima said he understands the band’s popularity.

“Marching band is a fun, good, social activity,” Lima said. “We play for University campaigns and events, and there are pep bands that perform for other sports besides football.”

The Marching Band doesn’t participate in the kind of contests made famous by movies such as “Drumline.” “There’s a ‘battle of the bands’ at bowl games, but there’s never a real winner,” Lima said.

The Marching Band is a winner in its own right, though, thanks to the dedication of the band members and the support of the fans. “People love the band, and they love the drumline, so being part of the ‘Pride of Minnesota’ is definitely a motivator,” Lima said. “Everyone devotes a lot of time to the band, even though they work and go to school. You really learn what a person can do when they have to learn an entire show within a week.”