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Marching band debuts new uniforms at season opener

 by Sam Good
 published on Tuesday, September 4, 2007

<b>WARM UP:</b> The ASU Marching Band plays their pre-game concert on the steps of Wells Fargo Arena before the game Saturday./issues/news/701560
Jeffry Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
WARM UP: The ASU Marching Band plays their pre-game concert on the steps of Wells Fargo Arena before the game Saturday.


The ASU football team wasn't the only revamped program to take Frank Kush Field Saturday night.

Thanks to a $750,000 anonymous donation, the ASU marching band entered Sun Devil Stadium with new instruments and donning new uniforms, said Steve Hank, ASU assistant athletic director for marketing.

The band performed a tribute to the Doors and drum major Katie Rennell said she felt the band put on one of the best first game shows she has ever been a part of.

"[The performance] was pretty amazing," she said. "The energy out there was great."

"I had so many people come up to me afterwards and tell me how great we looked and sounded. We made a good first impression."

And Rennell, a mathematics junior, wasn't the only student who felt the band wowed the crowd.

Mechanical engineering freshman Jamie Baack said the halftime performance the band put on was worth staying to watch.

"They looked and sounded good from what I saw," he said. "I also got up close to them and I liked their new uniforms."

The uniforms consist of black pants with a predominantly white and maroon top.

Along with the new attire, the band has more members too, Rennell said.

There were 286 band members marching Saturday, she said, up from 230 last year, ranking it among the largest in the Pac-10. Texas A&M has the nation's largest band with more than 400 members.

There was a significant increase in the number of tuba players, trombone players and drummers, Hank said.

ASU's band had only about 200 members several years ago, Hank said.

Communications major Nathan Griffin said the increased size of the band makes for a better show.

"I was sitting up top so I had a pretty good view," he said. "They looked good. There were enough of them out there to cover up almost the whole field."

Hank said he attributes the increased size of the band to second-year director Jim Hudson.

"[Hudson's] goal is to continue growing the band," Hank said. "He wants to create a great collegiate football environment because bands play such an integral role in the atmosphere at a college football game.

"With that Jim has done an outstanding job of expanding the Sun Devil marching band."

Rennell said the biggest difference in this year's band is its overall attitude.

She said the members are adapting to Hudson's ideas more which makes for a better presentation.

The band will repeat its Doors tribute this Saturday, then will play a tribute to drummer Buddy Rich on Sept. 15 and 22.

But for many band members, the highlight of the year will be on Thanksgiving Day when they will perform with rock legend Chuck Berry during halftime of ASU's home game against the University of Southern California.

"It's such a great honor," Rennell said of performing with Berry. "The fact that he is going to play with a marching band on Thanksgiving is great.

"Just to be in the same arena as a rock and roll legend, and the fact that he is going to be performing with us I think it's just a great opportunity."

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