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Husky Alumni Band Teeters as UW Tumbles to Oregon, 34-17

Posted by glennled on November 18, 2011

Near capacity crowd pushes Alumni Band out of the stands and onto the track

As the largest crowd of the season, 69,407, watched the UW Huskies fall to the University of Oregon Ducks, 34-17, the Husky Alumni Band was wondering about it future. Will the band play at the Husky home games at Century Link Field in 2012? Will the band be allocated free seats and play at games in the newly renovated Husky Stadium in 2013 and beyond? As the band pondered its future and consulted with the university, so did The Seattle Times in an article on 4 November, wondering what will become of the band and its traditions  (see http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016692667_alumniband05m.html).

At the game day rehearsal prior to kickoff, the president of the Husky Marching Band Alumni Association (HMBAA) announced to the band that the university has committed to keeping the Alumni Band as “part of the game day experience” for Husky fans. Exactly what that means and on what terms it would be implemented are yet to be determined.

Husky Alumni Band President, Tameem Bakkar (right), makes announcements at pre-game rehearsal

At present, the band gets free parking and arrives ready for rehearsal three hours before the game. Then we play for tailgaiting fans at 4-5 pep rallies at different spots surrounding the stadium. The last spot is always by the bronze husky and Coach Jim Owens statues at the west entrance. Once inside, we sit in free seats in the west end of the stadium. If the game is not a sellout (or nearly so), then we sit in the stands, but if fans buy all the tickets (or nearly so), then portable chairs are set up for us on the track. We play during selected timeouts, and we play in front of the south stands following the Varsity Band’s half-time performance. After the game, we again play for the fans as they depart the stadium. We like playing fun music and enhancing others’ enjoyment of the day.

Beyond that, where does the band play? at some Husky basketball and volleyball games and other venues when the Varisty Pep Band is not available. Also, at special parties, celebrations, and events when requested. The band mixes with the Varsity Marching Band for the Seattle Torchlight Parade, the opening home football game of each new season, and the annnual Homecoming game.

Two Alumni Band members chat: Ward Brannman (L) is band director at Kamiakin Jr. High in Kirkland and Jeff Miller (R) is band director at Pine Lake (Sammamish) and Pacific Cascade (Issaquah) middle schools.

Besides performing at home football games, what does the HMBAA band do to merit free parking and seats?  It raises scholarships funds for Husky Varsity Band students. Each August for the past 8 years, HMBAA has sponsored the Husky Alumni Golf Classic and Auction to raise such funds. The fees charged when the Alumni Pep Band plays for special events also go into the scholarship fund. Would you dine out to support these scholarships? Duke’s Chowder House (at three locations) designated a certain night in October when a portion of the revenues were donated to the band. Georgetown Brewing Co. donated a keg of Manny’s Pale Ale for each location, and 100% of all proceeds were given to the band. Last year, the Husky Alumni Band awarded $28,400 in scholarships!

The motto of the Husky Alumni Band is “A Touch of Class.” And yes, it is indeed a classy organization worthy of the University of Washington.

The following photos of the UW Varsity Marching Band were taken by Louis Figueroa (field) and Garry Nakayama (pressbox). Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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