Band president reflects on unusual season
Emily DeFazio | Friday, November 6, 2020
Monday evening, in a closed stadium rehearsal, the full Notre Dame marching band took the field to prepare videos of some of their musical selections. The band recorded a program for a pregame and halftime show, which will hopefully be shown in-stadium when the Irish take on the Clemson Tigers on Saturday.
“It was actually the first rehearsal we’ve had where the entire, whole 400-person band has been together,” senior Kilian Vidourek, president of the band, said.
Until that point, he said, the band had been split up into Blue and Gold sections that practiced on alternating days.
“Not every band is even performing like this. So the fact that we were even able to get at least one show on the field in some capacity is pretty remarkable,” Vidourek said. “It was always just to give us this one last thing to come together. That’s all we’ve wanted all year, is to be on the field and play.”
Vidourek said the band will also be marching from the Golden Dome to Notre Dame Stadium before the game Saturday, another tradition they have been unable to uphold because of COVID-19. In addition, he said, they will be performing for College Game Day in the stadium Saturday morning.
Vidourek said he was glad the band was able to have the experience of practicing together ahead of this.
“It was really cool to have everybody there, like back in the good old days,” he said. “A lot of our seniors got emotional towards the end.”
When asked what the biggest struggle has been for the program this year, Vidourek said the morale of the group.
“Usually band is this super, almost weirdly tight knit group of sections and traditions and events. We’re always hanging out with each other,” Vidourek said. “There’s not as many social events outside of band. We’re all taking every necessary step to be safe.”
This, Vidourek said, is why he was especially glad the band was able to practice together.
“It’s nice that we have this game and have that rehearsal to channel our energy and effort into,” he said.
Vidourek said the band has also been trying to keep up their section and pregame traditions as best they can. One such tradition involves section rivalries that are usually played out at South Dining Hall with competitions.
“We still do a very watered down version over Zoom,” Vidourek said. “We’re finding creative ways to make it all happen.”
This is also the band’s 175th anniversary, which is cause for celebration with the program.
“The kids in band 175 are the most tenacious and strongest and most devoted,” Vidourek said. “I think that they’re just happy to play their instrument and play the Fight Song, and be with each other and be in the band, to be one of the only bands that are doing it, and doing it correctly. So many other bands are probably jealous that we get to come together.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on the seniors, he said.
“My favorite band memories are the worst football games,” Vidourek said. “There’s something really humbling about going in somewhere, being with the band and taking a loss, and recognizing who you are in the face of losses. It’s so easy to win, but it’s really hard to lose. … It’s a wakeup call to realize it’s not about the victory. It’s not about playing the victory clog, saying you won the game. It’s about the band coming together and knowing that there’s more tomorrow to do.”
Vidourek said this season has been like this realization about losses.
“This year has been my favorite year in band,” he said. “You have to put in so much more to get the same experience out of it, and it’s been so rewarding to refigure out how to be a band member.”
He said that the game Saturday is the perfect way to end the season.
“I think this game is a giant culmination of all that hard work,” Vidourek said. “If we pull off this win, and the band can be super loud and get in their faces with all this great music, then I’ll cry.”