Even when the first half of a Notre Dame football game concludes and the scoreboard isn’t Irish-friendly, students and fans can always rely on the Fighting Irish band to perform at halftime.
Now, the Notre Dame Marching Band is hoping the entire country will be able to see one of their unique routines on national television and raise money for a good cause along the way.
The band is one of 18 collegiate marching bands competing in CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O Marching Band Mania” contest, where university and college bands from across the country arrange, choreograph and film an original performance to the theme of the classic television show, “Hawaii Five-O.”
The contest was organized by CBS to coincide with the network’s premiere of the reboot of the drama, but the famous theme song has been a favorite of marching bands for several years.
“We actually had planned on performing the song this year before the contest,” Assistant Band Director Emmett O’Leary said. “The song is a classic marching band tune and it worked well for us because there’s a lot you can do with it.”
The online contest, which takes place at cbscollegesports.com, features videos from all of the competing bands. Fans can vote once a day for their favorite band.
When the contest concludes on Oct. 4, the band with the most votes will receive $25,000 and the video of their performance will run on CBS.
The Notre Dame band submitted a video from the halftime show they performed at Michigan State, which was identical to the halftime performance from the week before at the Michigan game in Notre Dame Stadium.
The performance was highlighted by Band Director Dr. Ken Dye’s musical arrangement, which featured the band members arranging themselves into a volcano — complete with smoke — and the leprechaun on a surfboard.
“Tons of different schools submitted film for this competition,” senior head drum major Glynnis Garry said. “I think we have a really good shot of winning. Our show is really creative and the arrangement is one of the best arrangements we’ve had in a long time.”
The Notre Dame Band’s video on the website had more than 37,000 views as of Tuesday night, making it one of the highest viewed performances in the contest. While band members would love to win the contest and receive all the recognition that comes with the success, most are hoping Notre Dame wins so that they can give back to the community.
“The Notre Dame band has stated from the beginning that if we win, the $25,000 will go to our charity programs,” Garry said.
The band is involved in two separate programs, but both involve bringing music into the elementary school classroom.
“We have our own Bandlink programs, where one is run through the Salvation Army for the public schools in the area and the other one we do ourselves for the Catholic schools,” senior assistant drum major Tim Zintak said.
O’Leary said without these charitable programs, the schools band members visit wouldn’t have instruments or the lessons the members provide to the students.
“We have the students and a couple of staff members go to these underserved areas of town,” O’Leary said. “We’ve also supplied instruments to students in Jamaica through some international groups. There are several great things we could do with this money.”
The desire to give the money back to the community is one of the driving forces behind the band members trying to get the student body and alumni involved in the voting process.
A few band members created a Facebook event titled “Vote for ND Band!” which asks students and other members of the Notre Dame family to vote everyday for the Band of the Fighting Irish’s submission.
“We make an announcement every day to keep voting because everyone is really excited about winning and contributing to the South Bend community in this way,” Garry said.
Zintak said he believes the contest is a perfect opportunity for the Notre Dame Marching Band to showcase their dedication to both their values and their art.
“This contest really highlights our commitment to service while exhibiting how well we perform,” he said. “I think that perfectly matches up the performance side with the service side that we think and hope the band should be.”