The success of the football team has a lot to do with the rise in the members of the marching band, a drum major for the marching band said.
Senior drum major Hannah Harvey said the Horned Frogs getting to the Fiesta Bowl last season was a big draw for incoming freshmen to join the marching band.
Junior nursing major and fellow drum major Spencer Heath said it was staggering how much the band has grown over the past couple of years.
“During my freshman and sophomore years I think we were hovering around 160 to 170 members and this year we have 215 members,” Heath said.
When looking at the number of band members during the summertime, Heath said it was shocking and he didn’t know if he could lead so many people.
Despite a continuing growth in the number of marching band members Heath said the band has still kept its small, close-knit feel, but now there is more of a presence of sound coming from the band. Heath sees chemistry as an important factor to have amongst a band of 215 members.
“One of my biggest goals this year as drum major has been to foster a strong interpersonal relationships between myself and the marching band,” Heath said.
Harvey also said chemistry amongst band members is important because the marching band is all about having a good time, but still keeping that competitive edge. She said one of the most important ways for the marching band to sound and look spot on is spent during their practices.
Director of the Marching Band Brian Youngblood said the band practices three times a week and for two hours each practice. On game days, Youngblood said the band arrives at the stadium four hours before kickoff and runs through the pregame and halftime shows.
Harvey said there isn’t anything else like being able to perform in front of a stadium full of screaming fans. She said there has been a change in the crowd since she came to TCU and that more and more people are staying in the stands until after the band’s performance.
“We really feed off of the energy of the fans and the students and it seems like they are enjoying what the band is doing,” Harvey said.
During the game, Harvey said she hopes more and more fans catch onto the chants and yells the band does to add more to the game experience for fans.
Heath said that just like the band feeds off of energy from the crowd, the band and other spirit organizations, like the TCU Showgirls and the cheerleaders, give energy to the crowd and creates a cycle.
When Youngblood arrived at TCU 12 years ago, he said there was no tradition involved with the marching band and they didn’t play throughout the game or stay standing.
Before and after every year Youngblood said evaluations are done by band leadership to see how the marching band can improve the experience of the game by either adding or removing any cheers that go well with the students or not so well.
“We look at what the best third down music is, the best field goal music is and what we should do on kickoffs and many other things,” Youngblood said.
Last year at the Fiesta Bowl, Harvey said the band practiced every day for at least four hours when they arrived in Phoenix.
The main concern about being on a national stage in a BCS bowl game compared to a non-BCS bowl game was being unsure if the band would be playing across from another band with more members and played with more sound.
Youngblood said the band has been preparing for years for the football team to make a BCS bowl game because he wanted the band to be ready to play on that level across from a band with more than 400 members.