Opinion | The Hawkeye marching band deserves more recognition

Hawkeyes need to show more support for the marching band’s time and energy.


Grace Smith

The Iowa marching band performs during halftime of a football game between Iowa and Kent State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes with a score of 30-7. (Grace Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

The cheers for players on the field at Kinnick Stadium on game day overlook a huge part of Saturday football — the Hawkeye Marching Band.

Considering all the hard work the musicians put into learning the show, the band deserves more recognition and attention from spectators and the University of Iowa.

Amanda Thomas, a fifth-year studying music education and French horn performance, is the current drum major for the Hawkeye marching band.

She said the band rehearses its show every weekday except Monday from 3:40 to 5:30 p.m. The band also rehearses just their music from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.

The band learns a new show for every game, so players might have only 4 days to learn a whole show, or 2 weeks if there is a break between games, Thomas said. Rehearsals usually begin with stretches and warm-ups, then they run through music once or twice before setting up the show.

“It’s definitely hard work, but we pull it off,” Thomas said.

Thomas said band members get their drill electronically before rehearsal.

“Even on the days we don’t have rehearsals, we have people practicing their drill and music so it’s easier to put on the field,” Thomas said.

Thomas said marching band is a one-credit-hour class, even though students who enroll in it rehearse 10 hours a week. She said some members have to take more classes in the spring so they can take a lesser load in the fall and have more time for the band.

“You do have to make some sacrifice here and there, but everyone manages,” Thomas said. “It sometimes means making sure you get your homework done early in the morning.”

Band members who are so dedicated as to practice even on days off from rehearsal and learn a whole show in four days deserve more recognition from the UI community.

On Saturday nights, my Instagram feed is full of posts from university accounts about how the Hawkeyes won again. The marching band would appreciate it if UI cared about something other than football on game days and posted about it too, either before or after the game.

Thomas said during home days, the band needs to arrive six hours before the game. This means when the game is scheduled for 11 a.m., members have to arrive at 5 a.m.

The band practices its show at Kinnick in the morning and performs a pre-show performance at the Rec and Track Stadium.

“It’s only band family and a few people who know about it, but it’s very intimate with our audience,” Thomas said. “It would be awesome to have a bigger audience at the performances.”

The university could better advertise the pregame performances to students via social media, flyers, or mass emails.

“The Iowa marching band has a fantastic relationship with the university, Iowa athletics, with our fans and with the social media teams at the university,”Thomas said.” We work really hard, and we love to hear the cheers.”

Thomas said although she understands that is when people get snacks, she likes it when people watch the halftime performance and sing along to the fight song.

“Any support we can get, we’re happy to have it,” Thomas said. “We love our audience.”

Go watch the Hawkeye marching band’s pre-game performances. Watch the half-time performance and get a snack during the game. The football players get spoiled enough with attention. Come to the game, stay for the music.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.