By Georgeanne Barrett
EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Members of the UA marching band play on the steps of Old Main during last weekend's homecoming bonfire celebration. The band take the lead in tomorrow's UA Band Day event, which will feature over 40 high-school bands from around the country.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 5, 2004
More than 40 marching bands in the Southwest will meet tomorrow at Arizona Stadium for the 51st annual UA Band Day.
The Pride of Arizona marching band will lead 42 high school marching bands in the daylong event, where performing bands will be evaluated by a panel of judges from around the nation.
Marching bands attending the event will range in size from 35 members to more than 200 members. The judges will evaluate all performing bands, and the finest will compete for the prestigious Nunamaker Award.
Jay Rees, director of the Pride of Arizona marching band, said Band Day is a recruitment opportunity for the marching band and the university.
"This event is the absolute premier and focal point of the marching season," Rees said. "Ultimately, Band Day is a centerpiece for us."
Rees said in the past the event has attracted 8,000 to 10,000 spectators, and it is expected to be the same this year. He said the event will include two performances by the Pride of Arizona marching band at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. This year's performance will be to the music of the '80s rock band Talking Heads.
Rees said Band Day provides a unique opportunity for the Pride of Arizona marching band to set an example for high school bands.
"This is a great opportunity for us to be an example and role model for other band programs," Rees said. "Over 70 percent of the UA band was recruited from Band Day."
Rees said the Pride of Arizona especially likes performing at Band Day because it gives them a rare opportunity to perform for people who truly enjoy the music and do not just see the marching band as part of a football game.
"We perform for a very large crowd that is very interested in band and music," Rees said. "It is an exciting environment focusing on music and not just sport."
Gregg Hanson, director of UA bands, said Band Day is a very important event because of the number of people who attend, and because it gives marching bands an opportunity to come watch each other perform.
"The UA band is a knockout, and we have the best people judging and critiquing the bands," Hanson said. "These bands get to perform in front of 10,000 to 12,000 people."
Hanson also said Band Day gives high school students an idea of what it would be like to be part of the UA band.
Rees said members of the Pride of Arizona marching band and the band sorority and fraternity played a huge part in organizing Band Day.
Emily Parcell, president of Tau Beta Sigma, the band sorority, said this is her fourth year attending Band Day, but this will be the first year she has helped organize it.
Parcell, a music senior, said Band Day is the highlight of the year for the marching band because of the impact it makes both on UA band members and on the visiting marching bands.
"It has such a major impact," Parcell said. "For the Pride of Arizona, the crowd reaction at a football game is amazing, but it is outstanding playing in front of other band people. It is such a great feeling."
Parcell said Pride of Arizona members work at the event all day to assist members of the other marching bands who might need help.
"Throughout the day we'll be there to help and solve any problems, and to coordinate to make sure workers are always available," Parcell said.
Brian Petterson, president of Kappa Kappa Psi, the band fraternity, said he is excited for Band Day and said it provides the greatest recruitment opportunity on campus.
"Band Day is what marching band aims for every year," Petterson said. "Everything builds up to this."
Petterson, a music education senior who has helped run the event for the past four years, said even though a lot of hard work goes into making Band Day run without a hitch, it is always worth it in the end.
"The time we put into Band Day is such a good payoff," Petterson said. "At the end of the day when everything goes smoothly you know it was worth it."
Band Day will be held tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. General admission is $5, $2 for UA employees and seniors 55 and older and $3 for students with identification.