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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A timeless tradition of marching in time

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Photo by Photo By: Valerie Gunchick

Each week, the Aggie Band practices Monday through Friday and on gameday morning.  

With each football game comes another week of practice and performance for the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
To put on a new halftime show with a new drill each week, the band practices Monday through Friday and on gameday morning.
Kyle Dunk, renewable resources junior, B- Company recruiting sergeant and alto saxophone player, said the members of the band are immersed in practice for a large portion of the week.
“I guess you could say we are fully into the band whereas other college bands are just normal college bands with just normal college students because they aren’t in a Corps, so they do everyday life,” Dunk said.
As a part of the Corps of Cadets, the band uses a military style of marching and organization, said J Lander, interdisciplinary studies senior, Corps staff recruiting officer and alto saxophone player.
“Seniors hold officer’s ranks in the Corps, so they set the vision and know what needs to get done when,” Lander said. “Juniors are sergeants, which means they execute whatever action is needed to accomplish the vision and goals of the senior officers. Sophomores are corporals in the Corps, so they follow the directives of the junior sergeants. And freshmen are privates and expected to follow orders and to first learn to lead [themselves].”
Step sizes help execute drills, and block formations are a major emphasis for the military-style band. The Aggie Band takes pride in executing these formations as well as the famous block-T formation, said Elizabeth Wishert, biological and agricultural engineering senior, battery training officer and clarinet player.
“Basically, six steps for every 5 yards, so 30-inch step is what we are taking,” Wishert said. “Most other bands step eight steps to every 5 yards, so, I guess, it’s a lot smaller step. Marching in the Aggie band is like walking. It feels like walking. You aren’t doing anything special. It’s glorified walking is what it is.”
On gamedays, the band takes time to perform several required duties before they showcase their drill. They have a morning rehearsal and then return to the duty of spirit band after a break. Spirit band is when a third of the band escorts the football team from their busses to the stadium. 
The band all marches in together about an hour and a half before the start of the football game and stays after the fourth quarter of the game. Dunk said the fact that everyone in the stadium stays to watch the band during halftime makes the experience unique.
“When Colonel Brewer, the associate director, announces us on the field, and the whole student body says it too, it kind of gives you chills,” Dunk said. “You realize you are marching in front of 100,000 people.”
Because the Aggie Band is part of the Corps, members have an experience that is uniquely different from their counterparts at other schools.
“We work out together, we live together, we all wear the same uniforms, we eat together, we study together; [and we] travel together,” Wishert said. “Other bands do that, but so you know, we have all these other qualifications just to be in the band like staying in physical shape, having good grades, wearing a uniform — all these other things that other bands don’t have.”
These standards set the band apart, Wishert said.
“In a way, when you join the Corps, you give up your individuality when you put on this uniform,” Wishert said. “Instead of representing yourself, you are representing the corps, and your outfit and the Aggie Band and the university.”

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