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!

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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

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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!

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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! 

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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

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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

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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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7 Things You Do If You’re One Of Those 'I Always Order Chicken Tenders' People

It's hard to love food but also hate it at the same time.

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Growing up, my mom would usually have to cook me a separate dinner from my siblings. Why? Because I was ridiculously picky and wouldn't eat the same foods as everyone else. Trust me, it gets old. It's not my fault certain things just taste gross, you learn to live with it.

1. You eat something you hate just to see if you still hate it

I'll take a bite of a burger every once in a while just to reaffirm that it still tastes like dirt. I just have to know. Don't even get me started on vegetables.

2. When trying to explain what you actually like to eat, people give you major side eye

Don't ask me about my eating habits unless you want to get into a long, confusing conversation.

3. Eating at someone else’s house when you were younger was a pain

You hate to tell their parents just how much you hate the food that they gave you. So, you sucked it up and ate it anyway only to come home and whine to your parents.

4. There’s one thing on any menu you always fall back on...even if it’s on the kids menu

Pizza, maybe. Chicken tenders, always.

5. Trying a new food is a very proud moment

It's like, wow! Look at me being all adventurous.

6. When you realize you actually like some new food, that’s an even more amazing moment

Crazy times. This rarely happens.

7. Sometimes it’s the texture, sometimes it’s the flavor, all the time it’s left on your plate

Oops. At restaurants it's either left on your plate or your order is very specified.

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The Saying 'Traveling Changes Your Perspective' Isn't Just A Cliché

Experiencing the aura of another country doesn't compare to anything else.

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If I had a dollar for every time someone said "Traveling changed me," well...you get the idea. I'd be rich.

We always hear this, and if you're anything like me, the statement probably just blows over your head because you've heard it so many times, or you think everyone is overexaggerating. However, I came to realize that it's something you simply don't understand until you experience it yourself.

Over this past winter break, I traveled overseas to Barcelona, my first time in Europe. Of course, you prepare for how "different" things are going to be in terms of basic travel planning like currency, weather. Those sorts of things. You get lost in travel planning: booking tours, making reservations at the best restaurant spots, but what you don't realize is how amazing it is to simply get to experience and get lost in the general mood of a new place.

Getting to experience life outside of the U.S. and seeing what other parts of the world value is incredible.

While unfortunately, there's some level of poverty and inequality no matter where you go, the way many of the locals presented their outlook on life was amazing.

We went to a small bar on one of the first nights, and ended up going back two more nights (once on our last night because we had to say goodbye) because we had great conversations with the bartenders. They told us how throughout many parts of Spain, there are people who aren't as well off as others, but that everyone lives with what they have, and they make the most of it and always put happiness above all. They said part of this ability for the general population in their country to remain stable and happy, is that people who are very wealthy rarely show it.

They acknowledged that of course, there is inequality in terms of what opportunities are available to what groups of people, but that those who do live very comfortably always stay humble. They told us how, sometimes, they can tell based on how customers present themselves in terms of how they respond to the workers and carry themselves, that they're from North America and carry more materialistic items.

In many parts of Spain, they said materialistic items aren't necessarily as valued or prioritized, which also explains the happy essence that Barcelona seemed to radiate: Strangers would say hello to each other the streets, stop to give each other directions, or just to spark up a friendly conversation; something I never see in Chicago. Instead, everyone is on the go, with their heads down or headphones in.

Family comes first always, they said. Sure, jobs and money are taken seriously, but they're not always the number one priority, and neither is having expensive things. If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, and are lucky enough to spend time with your loved ones every day, then that is something they celebrate every day.

It was eye-opening to see how much the constant "on the go" lifestyle in America compared to many of the people we encountered in Spain, and how that's reflected in the cultural values of the U.S.

Seeing small businesses close every day for a few hours for people to home for their "siestas" and family time was amazing and was a true representation of everything that the wonderful bartenders explained to us.

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