When UNI the Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa bands marched at half-time of the ISU-UNI football game on Saturday, three Vinton-Shellsburg alumni were part of the event.
Along with ISU senior saxophone player Claire Andreesen, UNI band members Abby Scheel (trumpet) and Kayla Peterson (clarinet) marched on the field as they played a song familiar to Beyoncé fans.
Each band also performed its own routine.
Abby and Kayla are members of what is known at UNI as PMB – Panther Marching Band.
“Marching band is the only band I decided to join at UNI,” says Abby, a freshman. “In high school, it was definitely my favorite band group. The trumpet section at UNI has about 50 members in it, which is insane coming from a high school marching band with less than 10 trumpet players.”
As a freshman, Abby says her new peers have been very helpful.
“Everyone in that section is so welcoming and kind,” she says. “They’re all just band geeks that love what they’re doing. That’s another thing I love about PMB – everyone genuinely loves marching band. In high school, I was one of the few who actually enjoyed it, so of course you had to deal with people complaining the whole time. It’s a whole different atmosphere. Everyone is passionate for what they do so it’s such a positive environment.”
Also, says Abby: Since PMB isn’t a try out group, there isn’t pressure to have everything perfect.
“Yes, the band director wants things to look sharp, but his main focus is that we’re enjoying ourselves. Not once have I ever felt any pressure or felt that I was falling behind. It’s just amazing,” she says.
The UNI band traveled to Ames by bus early Saturday morning, says Kayla.
“It was an awesome day,” says Kayla. “The whole day was spent rehearsing and socializing with the ISU band member sto get ready for our half time performance. For half time UNI played “Downtown” and then ISU played Adele. The UNI and ISU combined to play Beyoncé.”
There are about 315 band members in PMB; only the drum line and color guard sections have auditions. The band practices from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 3-4 p.m. On Fridays.
“We don’t usually travel to the football away games,” Kayla explains.
After the football season, Kayla plans to join the pep band, which plays for basketball games and other events.
While the band plans an annual trip (this year, PMB is going to Rome), both Abby and Kayla say they won’t be going, at least not this year.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Rome but the trip is expensive,” says Abby. “But every year they have a pretty cool trip, because last year they went to London. I decided to wait until my junior or senior year to go on a trip so I can save up for it.”
Claire is a section leader and is also in the ISU pep band that plays for basketball games.
“So far, the season has been full of preparation,” she says. “This was our first performance, and I was thrilled to see Vinton Alumni. I know that many VS Alums attend ISU, but none of them are in the marching band. It was a cool experience to share with people from home.”