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A day in the life: What gameday is like for a marching band member

OSU vs West Virginia Tailgate

Cowboy Marching Band's Drumline during Spirit Walk.

I wake up to the blaring sound of my alarm clock. It’s 5:15 in the morning.


I sluggishly roll out of bed and get ready for the day. Marching band t-shirt, shorts, uniform, hat box, water and anything else I can think of to get me through the long day up ahead.

I begin to wake up on my drive to the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts and get excited for the day. Even though gamedays are long, the experiences make everything worth it.

I grab my saxophone from the band room and walk to the grass field next to Gallagher-Iba Arena for 6 a.m. sectionals. Full band rehearsal begins at 6:30.

Our two-hour rehearsal begins with the playing of the trilogy followed by stretching, warming up and a short music rehearsal. From there, it’s halftime show rehearsal and pregame show rehearsal.

After an exhausting rehearsal, I quickly run back to the Seretean to eat brunch and get ready for my pep band gig. Today, my pep band is playing at the beginning of the spirit walk, which begins at the union. Another band will play at the stadium for the end of the walk, and the third band will have this gameday off.

I run to Canes, scarf down my food and run back to the Seretean to put on my uniform, warm up for my pep band gig and make it to the student union in time for the spirt walk. We play for the fans, for the football team, and head back to the Seretean for a full band rehearsal.

Everyone is dress in uniform now. A sea of orange, white and cowboy hats fill the Seretean concert hall as the audience chairs fill with Cowboy Marching Band members.

Doug Henderson and Tyler Austin, director and assistant director for the CMB, respectively, warm up the full CMB and talk us through what our preview performance is going to look like. After a short playing rehearsal all CMB members head outside to the front of the Bartlett Center in front of hundreds of fans for our preview performance. The fans go wild as we begin playing our pregame sequence.

My fingers fly across the keys as every song is played from memory by every CMB member. The pregame sequence is over, and we move on to playing certain parts of our halftime show. Again, every piece is played by memory.

The performance is over as quickly as it starts, and soon the CMB and I are lining up in our parade block to march over to the field. The block is set quickly, and we start marching to Boone Pickens Stadium.

Fans line up along the path as we begin marching to the stadium. People clap along to the fight songs we are playing, and kids hold out their hands to get high fives from the CMB members.

Eventually, we make it into the team tunnel. Exhausted from the heat in our wool uniforms, we all rush to grab a water bottle provided in the team tunnel and quickly head for the front of the tunnel, eagerly awaiting our pregame performance.

It’s finally time for us to line up. I can feel my heart beating out of my chest as the excitement and nervousness begins to take over. I hear Pistol Pete’s shotgun. As the rest of the crown begins the “O! S! U! Cowboys!” chant, the drum majors whistle us to attention. Soon, the beat of the drumline begins. The slapping of the paddles against the wall mixed with the cheering from the crowd and the beat of the drumline makes my adrenaline pump faster as I am doing run on.

I stop on my dot and turn around to face a crowd of 60,000 fans screaming and cheering for the band. I almost freeze up, but all my playing and marching is muscle memory at this point. We must have rehearsed this almost 1,000 times.

Pregame is over and we head into the stands. I move up the stairs as quickly as I can so I don’t miss any of the game.

It’s eventually time for halftime, and the fans are going crazy as we begin to line the field. I’m not nearly as nervous as before, but I can feel my heartbeat quicken still.

Halftime is a blur, and we quickly make our way back into the stands to watch the rest of the game. As soon as the game is over the CMB plays the trilogy for the final time that night, play the alma mater for the fans, then sing the alma matter for ourselves.

I walk back to the Seretean exhausting, but still make sure to stop by and see the ladies at a tailgate on the walk back. They always give the CMB members free cookies.

I quickly make my way back to the Seretean, take my uniform off, load up and drive home as quickly as I can so I can avoid the traffic.

Eventually, I make it home, shower, change and lie down to rest. Tonight, I am definitely not setting my alarm clock.