Cornhusker Marching Band revamps pregame routine

Cornhusker Marching Band revamps pregame routine

The 2014 Cornhusker Marching Band performs during UNL's Big Red Welcome festivities at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 22. The band will reveal an updated pregame and the first of eight new halftime shows during the Aug. 30 Husker football game against Florida Atlantic.
Craig Chandler | University Communications
The 2014 Cornhusker Marching Band performs during UNL's Big Red Welcome festivities at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 22. The band will reveal an updated pregame and the first of eight new halftime shows during the Aug. 30 Husker football game against Florida Atlantic.

The Cornhusker Marching Band is stepping up its pregame performance as part of fan experience improvements in UNL's Memorial Stadium.

But don't expect wholesale changes when the Pride of All Nebraska takes the field in the Huskers' Aug. 30 football opener against Florida Atlantic University. Instead, fans will notice new twists mixed in with traditional favorites.

"I would call them refinements," said Anthony Falcone, director of the Cornhusker Marching Band. "Mainly, we are looking to improve pacing to keep the energy level higher throughout the stadium during pregame. I would describe the changes as being 'flashy traditional.'"

The changes include a new formation into the playing of "March of the Cornhuskers;" shortening a prolonged, opening strut and moving it to the middle of the performance; and adding traditional moves including a rear back (where band members play while taking a high step, arching their backs and angling instruments up into the air) and 270-degree turns.

"We'll have three lines doing the 270-degree turns in succession," Falcone said. "Because of the capes we wear, there should be some really good flash on those. And the rear back is something we did a decade or so ago and will especially be popular with our band alumni."

Other elements of the performance — especially traditional songs like "Hail Varsity," "March Grandioso" and "March of the Cornhuskers" — remain unchanged.

"Really we changed things up a little bit to enhance and improve the performance," Falcone said. "We want to maintain the traditions and spirit of the University of Nebraska while keeping things fresh."

The band offers free, open-to-the-public rehearsals in Memorial Stadium on Husker game days. The Aug. 30 rehearsal starts at 8:30 a.m. with percussion. The full band rehearsal begins at 9 a.m.

The 2014 Cornhusker Marching Band includes 300 members representing every region of the United States. However, 82 percent of the students are from Nebraska. Twenty-six percent of the students are music majors. The rest are studying in more than 60 other degree programs across campus. Each band member passed two auditions to gain admittance to the group.

Each member of the band has already recorded more than 60 hours of practice time preparing for the 2014 football season.

The drum majors for 2014 are junior Kayla Krueger of Lincoln, senior Nicholas Raimondi of Deerfield, Ill., senior Karissa Van Liew of Lincoln, and senior Brian Vuu of Lincoln. The twirlers are sophomore Morgan Miller of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and junior Aleah Peters of Omaha.

The Cornhusker Marching Band, which resides in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts' Glenn Korff School of Music, was founded in 1879 as an ROTC unit and is one of the oldest marching bands in the nation.

For a list of the 2014 band members by hometown and state, click here.