40 ’til 40: #25 – #28:

25. 2004 UofL Exhibition at BOA
In addition to football games, the University of Louisville Marching Band performed at various community events, exhibitions, and the occasional High School Marching Band exhibition. One such exhibition took place at an old football stadium. Bands of America (BOA) is a national marching band circuit for high schools, with Regional competitions throughout the country. We (UofL) got to perform at an intermission between the afternoon and evening sessions of performances.
It was pretty cool for me. My high school only competed in the Kentucky circuit – we never tried our hands at BOA. It was cool to hear and see some of those high schools perform, and it was also cool that we got to perform for them and their fans!

26. 2004 Liberty Bowl
The end of the football season saw UofL (Champions of Conference USA, ranked #7 in the country) take on Boise State (Champions of the Mountain West Conference, ranked #10), at the Liberty Bowl game in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the 2nd Liberty Bowl I had performed at, and the 3rd time that I’d been to Memphis with one of the UofL Bands.
The trip was fun. Some of us got to see the hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot at, while others went to Graceland. A stop at a Tower Records shop got me a rare CD from The Beastie Boys, The In Sound From Way Out, still a top 10, all-time favorite. The game itself was amazing! Boise State took a double-digit lead into the 3rd quarter. UofL then scored, to get within a touchdown of Boise State…. and you could feel the crowd and the momentum change. A couple of friends in band mentioned it, during the break between quarters, and I’ve still yet to feel a game change that dramatically as it did at the end of that quarter. Louisville won the game 44-40, after they intercepted a pass from Boise State, in the end zone, on the final play of the game. We then spent New Year’s Eve night and New Year’s Day in Memphis, before coming home. This remains one of my favorite trips and games that I’ve performed at!

27. 2005 Pep Band: Albuquerque
A favorite Pep Band moment was the trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in March 2005. We were there for the Men’s NCAA Tournament Rounds of 16 and 8. I’ve written about the games that Louisville played before. The town itself had this lad-back, casual vibe about it. It even did something that I had only seen in movies: almost the entire town took a 90 minute “siesta”; tourist shops, stores… everything closed! Maybe more towns should go to the policy of a 60-90 minute “siesta” period?
Arguably the most fun moment was going just outside of town and driving partially up the Sandia Mountain. It offered an amazing view of Albuquerque, plus there were feet of snow on the ground, even though it was 20 degrees warmer down in the city. This city boy was pretty thrilled to see mountains in person! Finally, late in the trip, 2 of my best friends and I stopped at a little café called Red Rock Café. Rosa, the Manager/Owner(?), might have been one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! We got some more-than-expected ice cream and just spent 20-30 minutes chatting about everything, including why we were in town, some of the sights and sounds of Albuquerque, and “why wasn’t I dating both of these beautiful women” lol. You made a very good impression, Albuquerque!!

28. 2007 Orange Bowl Pre-Game
My final bowl game performance was in 2007, at the Orange Bowl. Believe it or not but my voice never made it to kickoff, and it’s all the faults of the Pre-game Activities!

Us (the band) got to the stadium about 2 hours before kickoff. We spent over half of that time in an underground garage. As fans got out of their vehicles and walked by us, we would cheer/yell for them, hi-five them, and start some different cheers with them. I was very hoarse by the time we entered the stadium.

A lot of college bands will have a show that they perform before the teams come out of the locker rooms for kickoff. Us and the other school in the Orange Bowl – Wake Forest – were no exceptions. Wake performed their show first, which was pretty decent. Once they were finished, we lined up on the sidelines for our show to start.

And the fans responded.

And we responded.

Our Percussion section got the crowd hyped up, which got the rest of us hyped up, which got the fans even more hyped.

Maybe not as hyped as him….

By the time we marched out on the field, our crowd – 45,000+ UofL fans – were going crazy and my voice was gone. Oh, we won the bowl game, too, 24-14. But that pre-game will always be in my ‘Favorite Memories’ list.

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