Women in Hawkeye Marching Band reflect on activity’s camaraderie in new project

UI Hawkeye Marching Band alum Laurie Canady documented the joy of 50 years of women in marching band with new project.


Ayrton Breckenridge

The Iowa marching band plays during a football game between No. 2 Iowa and Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes, 24-7.

Archie Wagner, News Reporter

University of Iowa alum Laurie Canady examined the history of women in the Hawkeye Marching Band related to the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Canady and the women involved with the “50 Years of Women in Hawkeye Marching Band” project are presenting a slideshow at the UI School of Music on Thursday.

“So, along the lines of Title IX, what we’re trying to do is celebrate the women that were first in the Hawkeye Marching Band, and then we were struggling with getting those names because back then, they didn’t have the names of women in it or anybody in it,” Canady said.

With a lack of Hawkeye Marching Band archives, those involved with the project started scouring through various UI archives including the UI School of Music and The Daily Iowan.

Three women participated in the Hawkeye Marching Band in 1972, Canady said. She found one of them, Robyn Schulkowski, to interview for the project.

“She’s a professional drummer now and travels all over the world,” she said.

While originally only focusing on 1972, the project expanded to focus on the first five years of women in the Hawkeye Marching Band, including Canady herself.

Canady is an alum of the class of 1979 and played the saxophone in the marching band as an undergraduate.

Women participating in the Hawkeye Marching Band found camaraderie with their teammates, Canady said.

“It was really a lot of fun,” she said. “Those were fun memories of camaraderie within your rank. Everybody had a blast; everybody got along.”

Canady is a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band alumni band, where she plays her piccolo. The alumni band will join the current band on the field during halftime of Iowa’s homecoming football game on Oct. 29.

“This year we’re doing I think ‘Pinball Wizard,’ so that morning we have to learn within about an hour or two the whole routine that when I was in the Hawkeye Marching Band, you learn over the week,” she said.

For current women in leadership positions in the Hawkeye Marching Band, the camaraderie and legacy continue to flourish.

Courtney Kelly, a fourth-year student at the UI studying music education and trombone performance, holds the elected position of the Hawkeye Marching Band’s band manager. She’s held the position since 2021.

“I love getting to travel with the band,” Kelly said, “It’s a really rewarding experience after spending a whole season working and doing the growing with everyone.”

Kelly said she loves participating in the legacy of the Hawkeye Marching Band.

“As band manager, I get to conduct ‘Hey Jude,’ which is honestly I think my favorite thing to do,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot of legacy in ‘Hey Jude.’ Band Managers have conducted this for decades, and it’s really rewarding to get up there and get to have this fun experience with the band.”

Jordan Flies, Hawkeye Marching Band head librarian, said she can’t imagine her college experience without being in the band.

“It’s been really great. I’ve made almost all of my best friends in college in the marching band here,” Flies said. “I love getting to go on trips and getting to go to all the football games and whatnot.”

As head librarian, Flies manages music distributions and helps run behind-the-scenes operations such as the transportation of instruments and contacting the organizations involved in transportation.

Flies said last year she was injured with a fracture ligament on her foot and was not able to participate in both marching and work crew, but the band still supported her.

“The work crew spent, like, as much time as they could with me, and we cheered them on together, and it was the Penn State game, so we ended up winning,” Flies said. “It’s just like one of those moments where you’re like, I may not be 100 percent right now, but I have people around me who genuinely care about me and want me to be included in what’s happening here.”