AUGUST 20, 2013 — EVANSTON, ILL. — For more than six decades, Glenn Opie (WCAS50) entertained Northwestern University homecoming crowds as he spun and tossed his drum major’s mace. Over the years, he lead hundreds of NUMBALUMS as they growled and high-stepped onto Ryan Field.
“It was huge fun, mega-exciting — the crowd was so generous and responsive. It was a very humbling experience,” he said after the 2009 halftime show. [Video of Opie’s 2009 appearance.]
After the games, fans would swarm him, asking for autographs and a photo with him.
Before becoming a Wildcat celebrity — and before becoming a successful lawer in Great Bend, Kans. — he led the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Marching Band in the 1949 Rose Bowl parade.
“The constant roar of the crowd again brought back the Rose Bowl memory — giddiness and euphoria,” Opie said of his NUMBALUMS performances.
Opie’s contributions on the gridiron were not limited to Northwestern’s football stadium. He went on to become director of the Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps, sharing leadership with his wife, Sandra. Under their guidance, the corps won the American Legion national championships in 1971, 1972, and 1973. The Rebels were one of the thirteen founding corps of Drum Corps International, which now includes 42 corps providing an educational and competitive performance experience to thousands of high schoolers each year.
The husband and wife team were inducted into the Drum Corps International hall of fame.
Read more: Always a Wildcat: Remembering Glenn Opie