- Wednesday November 14, 2001
While the average football fan takes a stretch and heads for the snack bar at half time, the UA marching band has already begun setting up for its halftime show - a presentation band members have been preparing for since last summer.
By the time the University of Arizona's "Pride of Arizona" marching band has reached the field, its 240 musicians, pom line members and twirlers have already put in 14 hours of practice that week alone.
Throughout the year, band members are expected to memorize 15 songs for marching shows, in addition to nearly 15 more songs to be played in the stands during each game.
"It's hard getting your work, school and personal life together," said history senior Joey Graves, who plays in the Tuba line. "You have to schedule your whole life around band - but it's the best thing I ever did in my life."
That's when Jay Rees, associate director of the School of Music and director of the marching bands, steps in. Not only is Rees responsible for guiding the band as a whole, he keeps the band in high spirits, often throwing around inside jokes that leads to the band laughing, booing or cheering.
Rees knows the UA band members "want to give back to the to the community."
"I hope people take a moment to realize the immense commitment it takes to put on one of these shows," he said about the band's halftime presentations.
Time commitment aside, students such as music education junior Andy Ludwig, who also plays the trombone, remain devoted to the band
"It provides me with an opportunity to blow my face out and get together with some 200 people," Ludwig said during a practice the day before Saturday's Homecoming game.
The UA marching band has only one more show left during this football season on Nov. 23 at Arizona State University. There, the UA marching band will come together with ASU's marching band in a joint halftime performance at Sun Devil Stadium.
So next season, instead of rushing to be first in line at the concession stand, take a few minutes to enjoy a halftime performance by the UA Marching Band. After all, its members just spent the better part of their semester to bring you 10 minutes of entertainment.