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Husky Marching Band Performs with Edgar Winter Band at UW-ECU Football Game

Posted by glennled on September 24, 2011

The Edgar Winter Band, accompanied by UW Varsity/Alumni Band at half-time

During half-time of the University of Washington vs. Eastern Washington University football game on 3 September, the Edgar Winter band set  up stage on the 10-yard line to perform two of the band’s long-time hits, “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” Winter composed both songs  in the 1970’s. He is a keyboardist, saxophonist, percussionist, and singer (see http://www.edgarwinter.com).

The UW Varsity/Alumni Marching Band formed a V-shaped set stretching to the 40-yard line and accompanied Winter and his band on both songs. Take a guess—how much time did the Husky Band spend practicing for both the pre-game and half-time performances at this game? Only 11.5 hours. We rehearsed both shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., and on Saturday, game day, noon to 2:30 p.m. Kickoff was at 4 p.m. After the UW Huskies beat the ECU Eagles, 30-27, the band turned its hats around backwards—the tradition after a victory. I remember doing that when I was a band member in the 1960’s. Following another tradition, volunteer members of the Husky Alumni Band were integrated into the school’s varsity band for this season-opening game. That’s how I got to march again on that field for the first time since the 1961 season, 50 years ago! During the game, we alumni got to sit on the 50-yard line for the last time. Both the alumni and varsity bands will be re-positioned once the new stadium is built. I was one tired puppy Saturday night, but it was great fun and so memorable!

Edgar Winter plays "Frankenstein"

How do individual band members figure out where they are supposed to be at any given moment during the shows? There were 16 pre-game and 16 half-time show position charts lettered A-P, indicating the exact placement of each marching band member on the field at a certain point in the music, as the band played one song after another while creating one formation after another. These charts are produced using a software program licensed to UW and created on Pyware 3D. But as a wise man once told me years ago, no matter how great the design, the system, and the plan, you’ve got to have good people to implement it…and these band kids are excellent not only as musicians but in all respects. That’s how you get 160 band members to perform two shows with only 11.5 hours of rehearsal.

The pre-game show culminated in our playing “America, the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as band members unfurled a huge flag on the field and an operatic tenor sang the National Anthem. Then they kicked off the 2011 football season with a victory for Washington—“Go Purple. Be Gold!”

Pressbox photos by Garry Nakayama; field photos by Louis Figueroa.

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