There is arguably nothing more exciting to an Auburn fan than the start of an Auburn football game. Between the cheers, chants, hype videos on the giant scoreboard and the eagle flying around the stadium, Auburn fans can't help but feel pride for their team and their school.
An essential element of an Auburn football game, from start to finish, is the Auburn University Marching Band. The band helps to create the atmosphere of Auburn football, celebrating every first down, touchdown and triumph of the season.
In order to lead the Auburn family throughout the game, the Auburn University Marching Band must practice for weeks leading up to the season's kickoff. The preparation begins with summer preseason camp. During this time, prospective band members, called RATs, must try out to earn their membership in the Auburn University Marching Band.
"RAT stands for Rookie Auburn Tigers and all band members start with that title," said Auburn Drum Major Jonathan Corona.
New members aren't the only ones who have to try out. Returning band members also have to audition to keep their spot, raising the stakes of the selection process.
"The process is very competitive," said Corona. "It makes you appreciate your spot in the band."
During the week of preseason camp, members practice the Auburn pregame show and halftime shows for the upcoming season. This year, the Auburn University Marching Band has four halftime shows.
The first halftime show of the season was introduced at the Auburn v. Louisville game in the Georgia Dome earlier this month. The band played a "funk show", performing an Earth, Wind and Fire medley, Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder.
Three more halftime shows will be introduced throughout the season in addition to the Auburn University Homecoming performance which features participation by alumni of the Auburn University Marching Band.
Corona and fellow drum majors, Hannah Duraski, Jake Finn and Erika Sieber lead the Auburn University Marching Band in practice from 3:15-5 p.m. four days a week. The band also has gameday rehearsals which can begin as early as 5 a.m. depending on the time of the game. Members earn one hour of school credit during the fall for their participation in the band. Through their hard work on and off the field, the students become more than just a band. They become a team.
"The Auburn family is one thing, but the Auburn University Marching Band is a family in itself," said Corona. "We bond through the heat, fatigue of practice and a common goal, making us a family of support that we can always fall back on no matter what."
With a week of rehearsal behind them, on Saturdays the Auburn University Marching Band is ready for the game ahead. The band breaks up into four smaller spirit bands in the hours leading up to home games.
Each band can be found in one of four areas: Wallace Hall in front of the Auburn Arena, beside the Auburn Recreation and Wellness Center, beside the Student Center, or at the corner of Samford Avenue and Donahue Drive known for being the location of the Tiger Walk. The four bands congregate at the intersection of Donahue and Heisman drives for a pep rally, then enter the stadium together.
Then, the fun begins.
"The game day experience makes all of the practice and hard work worth it," said Corona. "It's great to be able to support the team."
You can see the Auburn University Marching Band during home and away games throughout the season.
The Auburn University Marching Band is under the direction of Corey Spurlin and Nikki Gross. Come to a game this season as Auburn University strikes up the band, encouraging the team to victory!
(Photo Credit (Top): Jonathan Corona )
(Photo Credit (Bottom): http://www.auburn.edu/auband/photogallery/displayimage.php?pid=10089)
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