A Day In The Life Of The 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!

Marching Illini Instagram

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!

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Minimalism Addresses Our Culture Of Consumption

Decluttering your life and consuming less allows you to live in the moment.


Most of us, at some point in our lives, have become trapped by our culture of consumption. It's a disgusting display of wealth and social status that social divides us. This social divide does a great job at inhibiting our potential at building objective, meaningful relationships. Material possessions become our identity and we begin to lose a true sense of who we really are. It's entirely possible for us to exist as content, beautiful human beings without participating in the culture of consumption we have been duped into believing in.

The problem with our culture of consumption is that it has become a key aspect of every activity. We give too much value to "things," focusing less on their contribution to our overall wellbeing, passions, or happiness. We may experience temporary contentment or pleasure, but it seldom lasts forever. Minimalism eliminates the "things" from our routine, allowing us to find contentment from the simple things in life.

Minimalism is not an expensive hobby one takes up on the quest for self-discovering and happiness. There is this huge misconception that being a minimalist requires a fat wallet and that your life is now restricted by rules and limitations. This simply is not true. This misconception comes from the elitist culture which has emerged through social media outlets. This distorted perception has blurred the individualistic nature of minimalism. A lifestyle often associated as a fad is actually a lifestyle that de-clutters your physical and mental state.

Minimalists are people who…

  • Make intentional decisions; that add value to their lives.
  • Focus on personal growth and the quality of their relationships.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Discover personal potential by eliminating obstacles standing in our way.
  • Consume less and intentionally.
  • Gift experiences rather than material possessions.

There isn't anything necessarily wrong with owning material possessions. If you find importance in an object that genuinely makes you happy then, great! Minimalism doesn't have to look like white walls behind aesthetically placed black furniture. This concept focuses on the internal value system we all forget we control. Start small; declutter your thoughts. We easily get stuck in our routines that we forget to look slow down and just breathe. Living in the moment is by far the most valuable aspect of minimalism because it allows us to feel and experience every minute of our existence.

If you're someone who enjoys nature, there's more value to be found in the adventures we seek out and create than those created for us. Discover birds you've never seen before, wander down trials in your neighborhood, or uncover beaches no one else knows about. You'll find more value in the creation of your own adventure because those experiences are completely your own.

Related Content

Facebook Comments