University of Minnesota Marching Band

Chris in Iowa in 1997

So for the three years I was at Minnesota, 1996-98, I marched in the University of Minnesota Marching Band. I love playing trumpet, and marching was a good way to continue playing, get some excercise, and socialize at the same time.

The biggest problem with marching in a band as rich in traditions as the Minnesota band is leaving.... It's hard to describe the feeling of watching the band that was so much a part of your life from the sidelines.

Like all Big 10 schools, Minnesota has a distinctive style step, which is used throughout the pregame show. It is called the 'chair step,' and you can get an idea what it looks like by finding a chair and resting your leg on it.

The Minnesota "Block M"

Besides, the chair step, much of pregame is a traditional show. It includes all the usual: a march downfield (Sousa's Minnesota March), playing the opposing team's school song, the Star Spangled Banner (though in my years, a new tradition of unfurling a 40 yard by 21 yard flag was started), and a "block M". However, the unusual parts of the pregame include rotating the block M before marching it off field as well as an excellent arrangement of Battle Hymn of the Republic accompanied by "swinging gates" onfield.

An amusing picture

One of the great parts about being in the Minnesota band was the support from the University, the students, and the various athletic programs. One side effect of this (besides having way too many gigs, especially during Homecoming and other special events) was the amusing fact that various campus magazines and papers ocassionally desired to inverview band members. For some strange reason, I agreed to do one of these interviews, the topic being "Band members in IT" (the Institute of Technology). The picture at left was the picture included in the story, and as you can see, the photographer got a little creative. I think the story, minus photos can be found here.

Singing Hail Minnesota, at the end of a montage concert. Hail Minnesota is
traditionally sung at the end of every rehearsal, performance, or other band event.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Chris Wyman (