DECEMBER 29, 2015 — IN THE SKIES OVER NASHVILLE, TENN. — "Welcome aboard for non-stop service to the Outback Bowl!" The United Airlines flight attendant's announcement received cheers from the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band, cheerleaders, and guests as the plane prepared for take off to Tampa Bay, Fla.

Severe weather yesterday cancelled or delayed thousands of flights, but the Wildcat Band's rehearsal went on as scheduled last night.

"We're communicating with everyone," says Director of Athletic Bands Daniel J. Farris. "We'll meet some people in Tampa. We want everyone to arrive safely."

Even with a bit of "heavy dew" induced tardiness, the musicians warmed up their instruments and ran throug their newest piece: The University of Tennessee fight song, "Down the Field."

"It is a Big Ten tradition to honor our opponents with their song," Farris reminded his students. "Let's take that again from the top."

Upon landing in Tampa Bay, the Wildcat Band will change from their suits and dresses into something more comfortable for a rehearsal in the welcome 80 degree Florida weather, in preparation for a full slate of Outback Bowl performances: (all times Eastern)

  • Wed., Dec. 30 at around 12:30 p.m.
    NUMB marches barefoot the Hilton Clearwater Beach next to Pier 60
  • Thu., Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.
    The Northwestern and Tennessee bands will have a friendly face off at Busch Gardens. Regular park admission applies.
  • Thu., Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m.
    NUMB steps off for a parade in Ybor City, followed by a pep rally on Seventh Ave. around 6:30 p.m.

On Fri., Jan. 1, game day finally arrives, with several more performances. Some may require tickets or admission.

  • 9:15 a.m. — Outback Bowl Pregame Bash
  • 9:30 a.m. — Outback Tent Village
  • 10:00 a.m. — Northwestern Alumni Association and the President's Brunch
  • ~11:30 a.m. — Outback Bowl Pregame Performance in Raymond James Stadium
  • Noon — The 30th Outback Bowl Kicks Off

“We follow Tennessee in both pre-game and halftime," says Farris.

After the Wildcat Band's half time show, several Florida high school bands will unite to give a massed performance.

"This is going to be a great trip," says Farris. "You've earned it."

Fans may find Wildcat Football on Facebook and on Twitter as @NUFBfamily, they also find Head Coach Fitzgerald on Facebook and Twitter, Be sure to also follow Twitter hashtag #B1GCats for the latest Wildcat athletics action.

As usual, the Wildcat Band will tweet from @NUbands, and will be posting on Facebook, Google+, and Tumbr. Videos of band performances appear on YouTube.

Photos and gifts purchased from the official bands photo gallery support digital media coverage of the band program.

—Daniel M. Reck '08 MSEd

—Photo by Daniel M. Reck '08 MSEd

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