|UND Pride of the North marching band steps up to Division I action|
The University of North Dakota has gone Division I in a big way—and so has the Pride of North, UND’s marching band.
UND energy is fueling a lot excitement in the Department of Music as the Pride of the North marching band joins the Division I effort this year with a trip to UND Football’s season opener against Texas Tech University. The band will perform just ahead of the 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday, Sept. 5, in the Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. It's UND Football's first game against a Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) opponent.
“This is a huge deal for us,” said Pride of North marching band founder and director Robert Brooks. “This idea started during a conversation with (UND Athletic Director) Brian Faison, who mentioned how great it would be to have the band down at Lubbock to support the UND football team, because they certainly have a large task at hand, in playing one of the country’s top 10 college football teams.”
“I approached President Kelley about it, and he was excited about the prospect. It definitely fits into his vision of the Pride becoming a Division I band program,” Brooks said. “The President’s Office is funding this trip, which is a major undertaking, with three UND buses and six drivers.”
Students have enthusiastically responded to the call: the band, which was organized by Brooks 12 years ago when he came to UND, grew by 30 members to 120, a dramatic 30 percent increase over last year, Brooks said.
“You bet, students are very excited about the move to Division I and the band members especially wanted to be part of this trip,” the first to a Divison I game for the band, said Brooks, whose instrument is the trumpet (though he can also play just about every instrument in the band).
At Kelley’s suggestion, Brooks arranged for the Pride of North marching band to present a concert on the road as part of its inaugural Division I adventure. The band departs UND at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.
“We’re stopping in my home town, Woodward, Okla., to do a concert at the football season opener for Woodward High School,” Brooks said. The concert at Woodward, which is about 1,000 miles, or 22 hours by bus, will consist of the program that’s planned for the UND-Texas Tech game. The band will stop overnight in Elk City, Okla., about three hours from Lubbock, after spending nearly 24 hours on the bus.
The concert lineup for the seven-minute shows in Woodward and Lubbock is a rock program starting with “We’re an American Band,” a rock standard by Grand Funk Railroad; “I Don’t Care,” by Fall Out Boy; and it closes with “The Pretender,” by the Foo Fighters, Brooks said. “Seven minutes is what we get on the field for a pre-game show, but at Lubbock we’ll be there an hour before, all during the game, and about an hour after the game playing for the fans. We close out our opening show with the UND fight song.”
The Pride of the North marching band is made up mostly of non-majors from across campus, Brooks said. “Only about 10 percent of our players are music majors,” he said.
Band members get one hour of academic credit for their participation—for about 400 hours of work. That includes Pride Camp, 12 hours a day for five days a week, before school starts.
The Pride of the North marching band is classified as a concert band, with brass and woodwinds—flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns (mellophones), trombones, baritones, and sousaphones (instead of tubas); and various drum kits including the seven-unit marching snare set, four tuned “quint”, or tenor, drums, and five tuned bass drums.
“And then we have our pit players, with instruments including the marimba, the vibes, the xylophone, and several accessory instruments—the pit players stay on the sidelines because their instruments are too big to march with,” Brooks said.
Tammy Mulske, assistant director of bands, director of the hockey band, and technical coordinator, will also be part of the team that heads to Lubbock this week. Additionally, two student employees will drive the Pride of North marching band’s service truck, which will be hauling all of the band’s equipment.
Traveling with the band to the Woodward stop and the UND football game against Texas Tech will be 16 members of this year’s UND Dance Team, Brooks said. Amber Eberhardt leads that group.
The band, crew, and the Dance Team will be traveling to Lubbock in three UND motor coaches, each carrying two drivers. The coaches will be modified with a plywood bunk up front so that the drivers can alternate with rest periods.
-- Juan Pedraza, Writer/Editor, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-6571