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Band to travel to Coliseum for first time in history

Becky Hogan | Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Band of the Fighting Irish will make its first-ever trip to Los Angeles for Saturday’s game against the University of Southern California.

“It’s taken a couple years to put together, and was primarily funded by just four alumni,” Notre Dame Marching Band Director Ken Dye said. “This is the very first time, it’s been talked about for decades, and it has required a lot of planning.”

Dye explained that Notre Dame fans and alumni have wanted to see the marching band play at the USC game for years.

“We’ve seen USC bring their band for the last 35 years [to Notre Dame’s Stadium]. This is really one of the premier match-ups, and the alumni thought it was historically important for the band to be there,” Dye said.

Dye said one of the donors who helped fund the trip played in the marching band.

“All the big costs for the trip are predominately anonymous donations … one was a former band member, and the [other three donors] just wanted to see it happen.”

Dye said the band members have been excited about going to the USC game all season since this is the band’s first trip to Los Angeles for the USC game in the band’s 154-year history.

“It’s a chance to be the first ones to do it, so it’s been one of the focuses of the season for the band,” Dye said.

Saint Mary’s senior Jessica Sheehan said she is excited to be a part of the band’s historic trip.

“I’m really excited to go because it’s something we’ve never gotten to do before,” Sheehan said. “We have t-shirts that say ‘Making History’ because that’s what we’re doing.”

Sheehan said while the she will not be in southern California long, she is looking forward to the trip.

“I’m excited to see friends out there [in Los Angeles] and get away from the snow for a while,” she said.

Sophomore Courtney McVey also said she is excited to be a part of the band’s “monumental” trip to California.

“We’re definitely all very excited about it. It’s totally unprecedented for the [marching] band to go to the USC game,” McVey said. “Small groups of students [from the marching band] have gone in the past, but this is a monumental trip. Our director was telling us what a big landmark this is.”

Dye said that the trip will cost approximately $250,000 to fly the 350 member band and its staff.

“That’s about what it costs to do a flying trip – airfare, one night of hotel and buses around the L.A. area,” he said.

Additionally, Dye said the Notre Dame Club of Los Angeles and Notre Dame Club of Orange County will host the band for a few meals during the game weekend.

“The two [alumni] clubs in L.A. and Orange County are feeding the band a couple of times,” he said.

Sheehan said the band will play at Notre Dame High School Sherman Oaks and Crenshaw High School before Saturday night’s game.

She also said there is a group of and members that will be playing at the pep rally on Friday.

According to Dye, the majority of the student band members will make the trip to Los Angeles to cheer on the Irish in the Coliseum, however some students that already had plans for Thanksgiving will not attend the game.

“The [band members] that wanted to are, some that had previous plans for Thanksgiving are not going, and we give them that option. But almost everybody is going to the USC game,” he said.

The entire marching band’s staff will also travel to Los Angeles for the game, Dye said.

Dye also said a truck left Notre Dame last Sunday to transport the band’s larger equipment to Los Angeles for the Thanksgiving weekend match-up.

Dye said that all the band members will fly out of Chicago, unless they are from the Los Angeles area.

“Some of [the band members] are going home, those that live far away are not,” Dye said.

He also said the majority of the band members will only stay Friday night, but some will also stay Saturday night due to flight availability.

“The majority [of the band members] are flying back after the game on Saturday,” he said.