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Scheduling prevents band’s trip to Fresno

Karen Langley | Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Band of the Fighting Irish may be most famous for its halftime shows during football season, but the band also serves as a vocal reminder of school pride at both home and championship basketball games.

At Saturday’s women’s basketball game against UC Santa Barbara, however, Irish fans were left to cheer on their team without the help of the band.

Basketball band conductor Lane Weaver attributed the trip cancellation to academics.

“Basically, the travel schedule precluded enough students that we were not able to go because of academic demands,” he said. “They would have to miss too much class.”

The band is typically presented with better traveling options, Weaver said.

“Usually the band can travel the day before the game,” Weaver said. “The options we were given would have required too many students to miss class. Our students sign up with the understanding that academics will be allowed for.”

A group of 29 students selected by band directors had been slated to attend the game in Fresno. Chris Nichol, a Notre Dame junior trumpeter, described the difficulties of this year’s trip.

“In the past we would leave after class on Friday,” he said. “This year we were told that we could leave Friday or late Thursday. We found out Wednesday night that it probably wouldn’t work out. From what we heard, the only way we could go is if we left at 11 a.m. Thursday. Band members had already made schedule adjustments to miss class, and [going on the trip] was too much.”

Although the oldest university marching band was unable to make the game, organizers were able to provide the audience with something of a substitute, explained Nathan Payne, a Holy Cross freshman who also plays the trumpet.

“They told us they were going to hire a high school band in Fresno, which did not occur,” Payne said. “Instead, they played a fight song on tape at halftime and again at the end of the game when we won.”

Band members expressed disappointment about the missed trip.

“We weren’t happy because we were kind of pumped to go out there,” Payne said. “We were told up until the night before that we were going to get to spend the weekend in California and see the team play Saturday and Monday.”

Weaver, who has attended past post-season tournaments with the band, agreed.

“We were really mad because we were set on going to California,” he said. “When it snows in South Bend, it gets kind of hard. It’s fun to go out and support the team in the post-season.”