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Marching band spreads Ram spirit

October 9, 2009
By Rebecca Howard

Every home football game, they spread Ram spirit through the crowd with their music and entertain the audience with their elaborate performances, and this homecoming weekend they're working harder than ever. Sarah Kafader is just one of the many dedicated musicians of the CSU marching band.

Love of music

Sarah Kafader’s interest in music started long before she stepped foot on the CSU campus. She began playing trumpet in the sixth grade and “kind of picked it up naturally.” She continued to play in high school and became involved in her school's marching band. 

Sarah ultimately decided to come to CSU, where she is currently majoring in music education, because of its excellent music program. And she definitely appreciates the recognition that comes with being in an award-winning marching band.

“There are people there to actually see the band,” she said. “When you run out on the field and everyone cheers because they know what’s coming. They come to watch the football game, but they also come to watch half time.”

A memorable moment

Although Sarah is only a freshman, she’s already had her fair share of memorable moments with the  marching band. Her very first football game performance took place at the season opener at Folsom Field, where the Rams triumphed over the rival Buffaloes 23-17.

But the most exciting and unexpected moment occurred during the marching band’s performance when a streaker ran on the field and the band’s director Dr. Moore tackled him.

“We made t-shirts with the picture of him pouncing on him and on the back it says, ‘you mess with the band, you mess with the Moore,’” Sarah said.

Practice, practice, practice

The CSU marching band members make their performances, from their intricate formations to their energized music, seem effortless. Don’t let that fool you. Being in the marching band is hard work.

The students involved in the marching band do so on their own time. It is an extracurricular activity, not a class. According to Sarah, they are expected to rehearse six to seven hours a week. When there is a football game, they add three extra hours of rehearsal.

Marching is a strenuous activity in itself, and these rehearsals happen regardless of the weather, meaning Sarah sometimes has to practice in less than favorable conditions.

“You work in the cold, and when you’re holding a metal instrument, it’s cold,” she said. “Your fingers start to freeze up. Your mouth piece is cold. You have to work with a lot of elements.”

Still, the band members are expected to give 100 percent at every rehearsal in order to learn their drills, memorize their music, and occasionally entertain the neighborhood surrounding the field by University Center for the Arts where they practice.

“We’re basically performing for the neighborhood everyday,” Sarah said. “The neighbors all come out with their lawn chairs and listen to us perform.”

Gearing up for homecoming

Homecoming weekend gives the marching band a lot to be excited about. Sarah was especially looking forward to her first parade performance as a CSU Ram.

“When we walk through that oval, it is madness,” she said.

The excitement will continue at Hughes Stadium on Saturday at the Homecoming football game when CSU takes on Utah. The band will be there, like every home game, cheering in the stands and performing at half time. Sarah likes to think of the band as both “cheer leaders” and possibly a good luck charm.

“That’s why the football team wins, because of the band in the stands. When we go away they’re not going to win,” she said with a laugh.

CSU Marching Band at Invesco

As if homecoming weekend couldn’t bring enough excitement, the marching band has also been asked to perform at Invesco Field this Sunday for the Denver Broncos’ 50th anniversary. The CSU marching band will be the first college band to play at Invesco Field during a Broncos game.

“I am so excited for this opportunity,” Sarah said. “Not only am I a huge football fanatic, but I am doing something that I love, and that is playing music. I can't wait until Sunday when we can entertain the 80,000 people that will be watching, but also represent this wonderful university and the CSU Marching Band.”