'The Buzz' Blog
All the buzz about the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching and Basketball Bands.
November 1, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — For decades, the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band has been fronted by the colors of the Big Ten Conference, presented by the band's color guard during the pregame show. It is a point of pride that Wildcat band performs the opponent's fight song, "as we honor our rivals for the day," as announced by Pete Friedmann, the Voice of the Wildcat Band.
However, Director of Athletic Bands Daniel J. Farris and Director of Bands Mallory Thompson always emphasize the vitrue sportsmanship during band camp.
"We are the ambassadors of Northwestern," says Farris, admonishing his student charges.
So when University of Michigan Marching Band member Patrick Fleming was killed in an auto accident in September while commuting to class, members of the Wildcat band joined with other Big Ten bands to show their support for the fallen Wolverine and fellow musician. The effort was just recognized publicly by Scott Boerma, director of the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands, in an editorial appearing in The Michigan Daily.
At the October 8 match between Northwestern and Michigan, "The Northwestern University Marching Band had wristbands made that were inscribed with 'We Are With You,'" says Boerma.
October 30, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — After the Wildcat football team pasted the Indiana Hoosers with a 58-38 victory in Bloomington, Ind. yesterday, members of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band will be playing today at a rematch of sorts between the two schools with a different kind of football. Kick off is at 1:30 p.m. for a men's soccer match between Northwestern and Indiana at Lakeside Field.
The band has just come off of a high-energy homecoming weekend which featured more than 140 Wildcat band alumni, known as NUMBALUMS, performing alongside the current NUMB students. About 40 graduates marched as their own unit in the homecoming parade last Friday night, and NUMBALUMS Joe Morrow and Sam Wlater hosted a pre-game tailgate on Saturday.
"It was a good drop-in opporutnity for alums who didn't want to march or play," says Amy Rushlow (J06), who once conducted the Wildcat band as its drum major.
- By Daniel M. Reck with Brittany Petersen
October 7, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — For the first time in sixteen years and in time for the band's centennial, the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Marching Band will debut new uniforms under the lights at Ryan Field tomorrow evening. The investment was funded by the Northwestern Athletic Department and marks the first uniform upgrade since the 1995-1996 season.
"The current uniforms first worn at the Rose Bowl," says Daniel J. Farris, director of athletic bands at Northwestern University. "They were done in a hurry for the game, in less than a month," he says. "If you look closely, there are some variations in those uniforms" due to the accelarated manufacturing schedule, says the director.
This week, band members have been working hard to prepare not only performances for Saturday, but the new uniforms have been a long time coming and have been planned for months since the Northwestern Athletic Department took over funding responsibilites for the Wildcat band.
"One of the first issues that we addressed with Dan Farris was purchasing new uniforms," says Mike Polisky, Northwestern University senior associate athletic director for external affairs.
"We went through a number of design concepts from different companies before arriving on this version," says Farris. The Athletic Department, NUMBALUMS, and the band were all involved in the decision process, he says.
September 21, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — "Jump into the best band in the country," says Northwestern University's head football coach, Pat Fitzgerald.
In a video released today, the coach addresses the "Wildcat nation" and asks them to consider joining the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band. "When we show up to Ryan Field two-and-a-half hours before the game," he says, "the first group of students we get to see is the marching band."
Fitzgerald, who was a saxophonist in the sixth grade, says that when NUMB is playing, "the pagentry of college football is in full effect." It gets the team "pumped up to take on any of our foes," he says.
September 18, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — With a great big "AHH!", youngsters aged 3 to 8 will again step-off alongside the students of the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The band presents "Kids Fare: March with the Band," the first in a series of Kids Fare programs sponsored by the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, at 10:30 a.m. in Welsh-Ryan Arena, beside Ryan Field. Free parking is available in the Ryan Field west lot on Ashland Avenue, north of Central Street.
"The popular family program series is designed to awaken creativity in children," says Judy Moore, Northwestern University's fine and performing arts editor.
Kids will see a sample of NUMB's trademark high-step "fast entry," and will be taught how to give the perfect Wildcat Growl. The students will also host an instrument "petting zoo," where children will may try the band's many instruments, from flutes to bass drums.