IN THE SKIES OVER KANSAS — "We should have plenty of sunshine and a real nice trip," says Daniel Farris, director of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band.

The band, along with cheerleaders, university staff, and distinguished guests, have taken to the skies on their way to support Northwestern's football team at the 2018 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The musicians are wide-eyed as they receive first-class service aboard the chartered 777 aircraft, complete with hot towels. The three-course lunch includes chicken parmesan or a teriyaki stir-fry, served with a spinach salad followed by frozen yogurt.

Leaving behind the snow that wafted outside Ryan Fieldhouse during last night's rehearsal on the Evanston campus, the Wildcat Band looks forward to wearing t-shirts at this afternoon's rehearsal in San Diego. The public is welcome to watch the band practice, which starts at about 5 p.m. (PT) at Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave., San Diego.

The students will be back in uniform tomorrow morning, for a public dress rehearsal of their Holiday Bowl show. That Sunday rehearsal will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m., also at Mission Bay High School.

Following the dress rehearsal, the Wildcat Band will join the University of Utah Marching Band to perform at the Holiday Bowl National Funding Kick Off Luncheon, which begins at 11 a.m. Sunday with a battle of the bands at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, 333 W. Harbor Dr.

Captain Carlos Sardiello of the USS Theodore Roosevelt has invited both bands to tour that U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which is moored in San Diego. Commissioned in 1986, the vessel is over 1,000 feet long and carries 90 aircraft. The flight deck is large enough that both the Utes and the Wildcats could march their halftime shows simultaneously Sunday afternoon without colliding.

Later that evening, portions of the Wildcat Band will perform at Northwestern Alumni Association events. Details appear on the itinerary below.

Monday is #B1GCATS game day, with the 2018 Holiday Bowl presenting its forty-first matchup. Over 100,000 spectators will see the Utah and Northwestern bands step off for the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade at 10 a.m., joined by floats and huge balloons. The route begins on the bay-facing side of Waterfront Park, travels along Harbor Drive, and concludes at Pacific Highway near Seaport Village. Street-side viewing is free and the parade is televised nationally.

After enjoying lunch with the Utah band at Enbarcadero Park, the Wildcat musicians will head toward the stadium to perform first for the Northwestern Alumni Association tailgate party at 1:45 p.m., followed by the TIG VIP Tailgate at 2:30 p.m.

Finally at SDCCU Stadium, the Wildcat Band will perform pregame and halftime shows, with the University Hymn being sung before the game rather than at halftime. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. The Northwestern halftime show will feature a program of famous rock music, starting with "Bohemian Rhapsody." The crowd will be invited to light up their cellphones as the band plays the ever-requested "Free Bird," followed by "Go U, Northwestern!" as the concluding number.

Keep up with the all the Wildcat Band activities by viewing NUMB's official gallery of Holiday Bowl trip photos and following them on Facebook and Twitter.

NUMB Appearances at 2018 Holiday Bowl

  • Saturday, December 29
    • 5:00 p.m. — Public Rehearsal, Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave., San Diego
  • Sunday, December 30
    • 8:30 a.m. — Public Dress Rehearsal, Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave., San Diego
    • 6:00 p.m. — NAA Welcome Reception, San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, 200 Harbor Dr., San Diego
    • 7:00 p.m. — NAA Huddle, barleymash, 6916, 600 Fifth Ave, San Diego
  • Monday, December 31
    • 10:00 a.m. — Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, North Harbor Dr., San Diego
    • 1:45 p.m. — NAA Tailgate Party
    • 2:30 p.m. — TIG VIP Tailgate Party, SDCCU Stadium Lot F1, San Diego
    • 4:00 p.m. — 2018 Holiday Bowl: Northwestern vs. Utah, SDCCU Stadium, San Diego
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