Marching Illini

A Day In The Life Of The Marching Illini

4 a.m. wake-up? 6 p.m. dismissal? Are you ready band?...umgawa!


11 a.m. kick off? 2:30 p.m. kick off? 6 p.m. kick off on a Friday? It doesn't matter what time the game starts because if you're in a college marching band, your game day experience starts a good six or seven hours before the actual game begins. Being a part of the Marching Illini has made my college experience truly amazing. We put in hard work and countless hours every week as we progress towards perfecting a new halftime show for each home game, and there is nothing more rewarding than performing the finished show during an Illini Football game that weekend.

Here is a look into the typical game day experience for a member of the Marching Illini Color Guard... the best section in the land!

Friday night prior to game day and Saturday, game day! (Based on an 11 a.m. kick-off)

4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Practice


March out down a busy street of campus starting at the Armory and ending at the practice field! For normal practice days, we just meet at our field and begin rehearsal, but the day before games, we all march out in our parade block together.

10:30 p.m.-11 p.m.: Friday Night Hype!

Marching Illini Instagram

Attend "Friday Night Hype"--a performance by the Illini Drumline at the beloved Alma Statue to get hyped up for the game the next day.

4 a.m.: Wake up! 


Guard makeup time! Breakfast! Layer up--temps can be in the low 20s at this time of the day during the colder parts of the season.

7 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: Game Day Rehearsal

Amanda Brennan

Run and fix minor parts of the halftime show, pregame, and 3-in-1.

9 a.m.: Grange Grove Performance

Amanda Brennan

The first performance of the day at Grange Grove! Perform favorite Illini tunes on the steps leading into the stadium as the football team walks in for the game.

9:15 a.m.: Lunch


Eat lunch. That's right. Lunch. At 9:15 in the morning! Good ol' Jimmy Johns. Can you believe we've been at this for 5 hours already?

10 a.m.: March Out!

Uniform inspection, more time to warm up our instruments and equipment as we prepare to MARCH OUT! Personally, "march out" is my favorite part of the day as we parade around campus chanting about our beloved Illini with family, friends, and fans watching on sidewalks as we make our way to the stadium! Check it out here

10:20 a.m.: Pregame!

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Once we are at the stadium, our main performances begin! We start with our 10-minute pregame show, complete with the Star Spangled Banner, the visiting team's fight song, and conclude with various Illinois fight songs.

11 a.m.: Kickoff!

Marching Illini Instagram

Finally! Kick off! The game starts! Throughout the game, the band plays "stands tunes" in our seats in front of the Block I student section to keep the crowd pumped and to continue cheering on our team!

12:30-ish: Halftime Show!

Amanda Brennan

For every home game, we perform a new show consisting of three movements! This means when we have multiple home games back-to-back weekends, we have about four days to learn new drill, guard routines, and music. This past season we performed songs from Star Wars, E.T., Incredibles, Beauty and the Beast, and more!

2 p.m.: Game finishes

Amanda Brennan

Hopefully, at this point, we are playing fight songs once again for an Illini win, but win or lose, we cheer them on and stay until the end of every game.

2:30 p.m.: March Out again!

Yup, another parade around campus on our way to a post-game performance at the Education Building! Not done yet!

2:50-ish: Post Game Concert

Marching Illini Instagram

Play a few songs from the day, the Alma Mater, make announcements, and finally, our director dismisses us! Gameday complete... nearly 12 hours later.

Being a member of the Marching Illini is fantastic and a large time commitment, but I couldn't imagine college any other way! If you're in high school looking at continuing to march in college, I would definitely recommend it!

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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.
You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test-takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just three years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything — that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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When You Decide You Don't Love Me Anymore

I'll forgive you.


I never thought I would write this, but I feel like I have to: there will come a day where you won't love me anymore. This won't be a sad day, but instead a day I have waited for all along. You see, they all leave and that is perfectly okay. People may not be meant to be in my life for all of it, not in any of our lives but this is normal and although initially saddening it is a part of our lives and inevitably part of our journey.

When this time comes I want you to know that we did our best, that we were in fact in love once and that we had hoped it would blossom into a lifetime commitment but it didn't and I accept that and will respect you always. I know you did not wake up one day out of the blue and stop loving me, I know this feeling grew over time in your heart and that it was not something you planned on. I respect this.

You were the only person I trusted and the one I loved the most, but nothing lasts forever and I hope you can understand there is no animosity here and certainly, no stone left unturned. We just are not those kinds of people, we would have tried everything to keep our love burning bright and tried for quite a while to understand where the cracks began so that could fix them, it just isn't that simple. Love is a long complicated process, you know that and falling in love with me couldn't have been easy, I am misunderstood and stubborn as all hell and I am FULLY aware of that but that does not mean I didn't try to ease up on you, I promise I did my best.

I have always done my best to understand you, to make you happy, to keep the flame alive, but it has been extinguished. Love does that sometimes, it is there one day burning bright and then it slowly starts to dim with every fight, every unrequited "I love you" and every day passing by in which we spoke less and less about the things that mattered and more and more about worthless things.

This is all okay, it is a season of life, a part of our lives in which we do suffer but one we must grin and bear. I want you to know that I will always love and care for you, although it is now in a much different way, now we no longer look at each other with doting eyes and open hearts but instead with the freedom to let go and move on.

It is time for us to go on with our lives and find a new adventure, one that will light our hearts on fire instead of continuing to snuff our joint flame. You will always be in my memory and a huge part of my life that I once had but I accept that it's over and that time sometimes wears on things as it has worn on us.

You are the love of my life and that is truly the reason I must forgive you.

Goodbye, my love.

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