780 More Champion Players

Tonight some 90,000 spectators will watch brightly uniformed players display their talent in the Rose Bowl at the BCS National College Football Championship in Pasadena, CA. Carrying their equipment across the field in intricate formations and putting on an awe-inspiring display of showmanship, the crowd will be blown away by the show.

We’re talking, of course, about the 380- and 400-member marching bands of Auburn University and Florida State University, respectively. While many across the country will get to see only the football players during their game, the spectators attending the Rose Bowl in person will be treated to an outstanding performance.

While the marching bands do not receive the budget nor the publicity of the football teams, the experiences they have are invaluable. From CNN’s Bob Greene:

“The individual challenge is to play the instruments as well as they can, to lock into the formations as well as they can,” Florida States’s Director of Bands Patrick Dunnigan said. “The big picture is when they look at the crowd, see the fans clapping, watch the football team waving at them. The feeling is being a part of something huge.” Auburn Associate Professor of Music Corey Spurlin said the friendship and the time together is something irreplaceable, something the band members will take with them for the rest of their lives.

And their performances are no easy feat. While fans may not notice mistakes, “… we know,” Dunnigan said. “The accuracy of the notes, the formations to lock into, the crescendos — we know right away when something’s off.” Spurlin added: “Our standards for ourselves are high. We teach a precise work ethic, a pride, that we hope will carry over to whatever the musicians do after they leave here.”

We applaud both schools’ marching bands for their dedication and excellence on the field tonight!

Bob Greene, “The other champions on the BCS field,” CNN, 5 January 2014.

Catherina Hurlburt, Special Assistant, January 6, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)