'The Buzz' Blog
All the buzz about the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching and Basketball Bands.
FEBRUARY 7, 2014 — EVANSTON, ILL. — It is going to look a bit different at Ryan Field in the fall. The Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band and the student seating section are moving to the southeast side of the stadium as reported by Alex Putterman in The Daily Northwestern.
"The new location [for the band] is in the bottom of section 111 on the east side of the field," says Daniel J. Farris, Director of the Wildcat Band. "This is essentially an inverted mirror of where we were before, changing from the northwest side to the southeast side. "
About 5,000 students will join the band on that side of the field in sections 111-114. This is roughly the same number as in the previous sections.
"Better seats, more TV time, no camera cart blocking the goal line, ability to actually see the video board," read a Facebook post from Gram Bowsher, president of the Wildside, Northwestern's student spirit organization.
OCTOBER 3, 2013 — EVANSTON, ILL. — It will be a busy homecoming weekend for the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band, with lots of opportunities for fans to see and hear the band in Evanston and on the air across the country.
The broadcast of ESPN’s popular College GameDay from Northwestern University’s Evanston campus this Saturday, Oct. 5, adds great momentum both to the University’s Homecoming festivities and to the success of the University’s athletics program. The Wildcat Band will be on hand during the show, which will preview Saturday night's match against Ohio State.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 — EVANSTON, ILL. — "Mom, I want to be like him one day," Elisabeth Sladek (C16) said to her mother when she saw the Northwestern University drum major run across the field. That was when she was 9 years old, Sladek told the Northwest Herold's Joe Bustos in an article appearing today. The paper covers Sladek's home town of Crystal Lake, Ill.
Bustos profiled Sladek, who is one of three drum majors this season for the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band, in the paper's "On the Record" feature.
Tonight, a sold-out crowd at the United Center will welcome the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2013 Training Camp Festival. This just over a week after the Blackhawks' Jim Cornelison sang the national anthem with the Wildcat Band during the home opener at Ryan Field.
"There will be around 90 NUMBers there to play between the action of the Blackhawks scrimmage," says Farris. Fans with general admission tickets may enter through gates 3, 6 and 7 on Madison St. and Adams St. starting at 5 p.m. Those participating in the "Mad Dash to Madison" 5K run/10K skate event will enter at gate 2.
The first 10,000 fans to arrive at United Center will receive a Jonathan Toews bobblehead. More information about tonight's event has been posted on the Chicago Blackhawks' website.
"This event sells out every year," says Farris.
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.