UWAA & Husky Marching Band Alumni Newsletter

Here’s what’s coming at halftime for 2007

Brad McDavidThis past football season was one of the most enjoyable years I have experienced as director of the Husky Marching Band. Although enormously disappointed that our seniors concluded their years in the band without a postseason bowl trip, I was continually amazed all season long by the band’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the fans.

I have a special thanks to the University of Washington Alumni Association. The UWAA annually funds the game-day lunches for the members of the Husky Marching Band immediately following our performance at each UWAA pre-game Washington Warm Up at away football games. The UWAA staff (which includes HMB alum Mike Plonski, ’87) invests an incredible amount of work into ensuring the Warm Ups are fun for the fans and the band. Again, we are so incredibly appreciative of the vocal and financial support of the UWAA!

This past season included many memories and stellar performances. Looking back on the season, few Husky Bands logged as many air miles as this year’s group, with us starting the season at Syracuse, N.Y., and ending in Honolulu. That’s a whopping 11,000 miles just for those two trips.

Our season kicked off with the trip to Syracuse, which led to many unforgettable experiences (and challenges!) the moment we left Seattle; the band’s flight arrangements had us flying to New York on three different red-eye flights through three different cities; thankfully everyone (as well as the instruments!) arrived on schedule.

From there, the band traveled to Niagara Falls, where we got to witness the beauty and grandeur of Niagara Falls up close and personal by hopping on the famous “Maid of the Mist” boat and sailing within a few hundred feet of the base of the falls. It was an absolutely awesome experience. The highlight of the trip was the big win over Syracuse, although the heat in the Carrier Dome was at times a bit stifling. We still wonder how a venue sponsored by the Carrier Air Conditioning Corp. had no air conditioning throughout the entire building.

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

HMB members Joel Orsen, Chris Lennard, Eric Sanchez and Ian Head impersonate the Beatles for the Sgt. Pepper halftime show.

The first full-blown halftime show of the season was the band’s well-received tribute to what is considered the greatest pop album ever released, the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The fans in attendance that day not only sang along to many memorable Beatles classics but were also treated to our own musical impersonation of the “Fab Four” by having four HMB members dress in exact replicas of the uniforms worn by the Beatles on the album cover and belt out the guitar licks for the show’s grand finale.

At the USC game, the band and cheer squad members loved welcoming back 48 members of the 1961 Rose Bowl Band. The current band recreated portions of the actual halftime show from the 1961 game. The highlight of the show was when the members of the 1960 band in attendance joined the band for a performance of the band’s arrangement of Everything’s Coming Up Roses, which debuted at the 1961 Rose Bowl. The tune was conducted by the gentleman who shared the conducting duties with 1960 Band Director Bill Cole, Phil Ager. It was a thrill for everyone to have Phil back on the ladder conducting that spirited arrangement just as he had 46 years earlier!

Another hit with the fans this season was the band’s tribute to the music of Phil Collins. The tunes, which were masterfully arranged for the HMB by Alec Wilmart, a former band member and distinguished Seattle-area music teacher, highlighted the impressive abilities of our brass section. The show also featured a new drum rack in which to feature the incredible talents of the HMB drumline to Phil Collins’ hit song Easy Lover.

William Hung

One-time American Idol hopeful William Hung sings at the UW-Cal game.

Our “Husky Idol”-themed halftime show proved to be a crowd favorite, too. The theme was inspired by the popularity of the TV show American Idol, which is a talent-search style show that makes overnight stars out of amateur singers.

A similar competition was organized on campus with preliminary rounds being held in the weeks leading up to the November 17 Cal game. At halftime, the three finalists were featured with the HMB providing the background music for the students. Efforts to secure a performance by American Idol finalist (and Bothell native) Blake Lewis were unsuccessful, so the finale featured one of the most famous individuals never to make the finals of American Idol, William Hung. Mr. Hung and the HMB reprised his “unique” version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bang” much to the delight of those fans in attendance. It even resulted with the band ending up on YouTube!

Apple Cup weekend ended up being one of the busiest ever for HMB students and staff, as several additional performances were scheduled in commemoration of the 100th game between the Huskies and the Cougars. With the game being moved to the Saturday following Thanksgiving, both the UW and WSU bands participated in the Macy’s Holiday Parade through downtown Seattle on the Friday prior to the game. Following the parade, a joint kickoff luncheon and rally was held in the Qwest Field Exhibition Center. From there, both bands headed back to Husky Stadium to put the finishing touches on a joint halftime show, which featured music and drill enjoyed by the fans across the decades. During the game, the halftime music was also synchronized to actual game footage from some of the most memorable Apple Cups ever held.

Hawaii 2007

Longtime fan and supporter Kim Blain is serenaded by yet another band at the party thrown for her by the Husky Marching Band while in Hawaii for the UW game.

The season concluded with the band’s seniors being able to accompany the team and fans to the December 1 Huskies’ game in Hawaii. This initially unexpected trip was a wonderful way to thank this deserving class of students and wouldn’t have been possible without the enormous generosity of one of the band’s biggest fans – Kim Blain. Kim also celebrated a “milestone” birthday while on the trip. And needless to say, the band helped her celebrate in a big way! We’ll never be able to thank you enough, Kim!

One memory that will always be foremost in my mind is this year’s HMB senior class. Although they were the first senior class in many, many years to not attend a bowl game, they have shown incredible spirit and dedication to the organization’s tradition and to Husky athletics. It is very gratifying to know that it wasn’t the idea of going to a Rose Bowl that continued to drive their desire to be in the band but rather the idea of simply being a Husky and performing for our fans and our student athletes. For that reason this senior class will always be very special to me!

Return to Winter 2008 Marching Band Alumni News

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