All the buzz about the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching and Basketball Bands.

Special OlympicsMay 18, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — Hundreds of athletes and volunteers, including members of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band, will descend upon the Evanston Township High School gym on Saturday. The band will add a little purple—and perhaps Olympic gold—pride to the festivities. (Devoted fans know that before the university color was made simply purple, Northwestern officially used purple and gold.)

"For this event, we bring 200 Special Olpymics [athletes] between the ages of two and seven along with their families out for a day of fun motor skill activities, lunch, and carnival games," says Nicole Hendrix, executive co-chair of the Northwestern University Benefit to Special Olympics.

About two dozen members of the Wildcat Band will be on hand for the opening ceremonies, and will perform the national anthem and other music to kick off the Young Athletes All-Stars Day event.

Performing the National Anthem April 20, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — Members of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band will once again don their uniforms this spring. Tomorrow, they will be supporting the Wildcat women's lacrosse team beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Lakeside Field on the Evanston campus.

The band "enjoyed playing at the women's lacrosse home opener last month," says Daniel J. Farris, director of athletic bands. 

Festivities at that game included recognizing the team's national champion standing, and concluded with a 15-2 win over the Oregon Ducks.

Growling at the Meineke Bowl April 13, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — Northwestern University football fans will be catching their first glimpse of the 2012 Wildcat football team and the 2012 Wildcat Band this Saturday. Wildcat faithful are invited to Ryan Field on the Evanston campus on Saturday, April 14, to enjoy the annual Spring Exhibition game. Start time for on-field action is set for noon, but there are plenty of reasons to arrive early and enjoy a full day of fun, football, and music from the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band.

Admission and parking for the Spring Exhibition are free. Fans may begin parking in the lots surrounding Ryan Field as early as 7 a.m. for tailgating, and gates to the stadium will open at 10:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the exhibition.

"The band will give a pregame performance on the field at 11:50 a.m.," says Daniel J. Farris, Director of Athletic Bands.

Northwestern Women's LacrosseMarch 3, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — Horns are flashing and drums are beating at Lakeside Field in Evanston, where the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band often rehearses on the artificial turf. But this is no rehearsal, it's a celebration of the Northwestern women's lacrosse team at their home season opener match.

It should "be a bit of a surprise to the team," said director of athletic bands Daniel J. Farris.

Fans have been encouraged to get to their seats early to help celebrate Northwestern's 2011 NCAA championship victory, the program's sixth in the last seven years. The ceremony will include ring distribution, banner unveilings, and "a special musical performance," according to athletic department officials.

Pete Friedmann, Voice of the Wildcat Band February 20, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — This season a new voice welcomes the Northwestern University Women's Basketball team each time they hit the court in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Yet, many Wildcat fans probably recognize the you-can-hear-the-smile inflections of rookie basketball announcer Pete Friedmann (C79). After all, he's been the Voice of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band for more than three decades.

"Although I’m a professional announcer, voice over artist and former broadcaster, I’ve never really announced sports," says Friedmann.

Nonetheles, someone saw—or rather heard—potential in Friedmann. When the call for auditions went out, he tried out "like anyone else," he says. He got the job.

"My wife and I have been going to NU Women’s Basketball games for at least 20 years," he says. "I would be there for most games anyway, and I liked the idea of trying something new and challenging along the way."

Although Friedmann has been in the announcer's box at hundreds of Northwestern athletic events, he has always had the benefit of knowing ahead of time what the Wildcat Band planned for its performances.

"The excitement in being a sports fan is that you never know until it happens," he says. "The biggest challenge for me—besides not being able to cheer for the ‘Cats and sing along with NUBB [the basketball band]—is keeping track of everything when it seems it’s all happening at once, and trying to announce it in a timely manner."

While Friedmann works from a script with the marching band, often counting footsteps and drumbeats to time his announcements, the flow of a basketball game is a bit more frantic.