Among those cheering most loudly for an Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball victory each game is an alto sax player, a college senior from Vinton who hopes to end her band career at the NCAA tournament.
Claire Andreesen, the daughter of Larry and Jan Andreesen of Vinton, has played in both the ISU Marching band (officially known as the Iowa State University Cyclone Football Varsity Marching Band, or ISUCF’V’MB) and the men’s basketball pep band throughout her college years.
But while the pep band numbers around 60, only about 30 are allowed to travel with the Cyclones to post-season contests. And because there were alto sax players with more seniority, Claire had to stay in Ames for the past three post-seasons.
This year, as a senior, it’s Claire’s turn to be among those 30 who cheer and play for the Cyclones in the NCAA tournament.
“Pep Band is going well,” says Claire. “There are not many games left. We are still nervous about the NCAA tournament, since our record has not been as good as it has been the past couple years. We are not sure if we will go or what we will be seeded.
Currently the ‘Clones are 16-9 and in 4th place in the Big 12.
There have been many great memories for Claire and her band peers. The Marching Band has won several awards, including the Sudler Trophy, one of the highest honors a college band can receive. In pep band, Claire says one of her favorite memories (and photos) is from the night the Cyclones came back from 20 points behind to beat Iowa in December of 2015.
“Also, I love the moments when Hilton gets so loud. During the Kansas game a year ago, we got to over 106 decibels. Sometimes it felt like the sound waves were moving the other teams shots out of the basket,” she says.
Claire, an civil engineering major, is looking toward the future as she winds down her career; there are just three more home games left this season, including Saturday’s game vs. TCU. She already has her job lined up, working with McCarthy Building Companies, whom she interned for over the past few summers.
“The paperwork has not been 100% finalized but I am pretty sure I will end up in Omaha,” she says.
Claire has been playing in a band since middle school, and hopes to continue playing.
“After graduation, I am not sure what I will do with organized music,” she says. “I will certainly look around at community band options, but I know i need to take time to start my career first.”
But for the next month or so, Claire is hoping for a few more opportunities to cheer on and play for the Cyclones, and a few more moments of Hilton Magic.