LINCOLN — For the first time in 26 years, a Doane College marching band will take the field when the Tigers host the Northwestern College Red Raiders today at Al Papik Field in Crete.
Doane hasn't had a marching band since 1987.
The college is re-establishing it partly to give music education students a chance to help teach and administer a marching band.
“We wanted to make sure those students had a chance to have multiple experiences,” said Lance Nielsen, the marching band's director.
“It's been a nice addition to our music department,” said Jay Gilbert, Doane's music director.
Gilbert and other music department faculty members had noticed increasing interest in the college's pep band, which played at football games and had grown to 75 to 100 students.
Pep band members were ecstatic when Gilbert announced the addition of marching band earlier this year.
“Everyone was jumping up and down,” Gilbert said.
Creating the marching band cost about $30,000 for uniforms, equipment and instruments.
For today's home opener, the 74-member marching band will be on the field before the game, but not at halftime.
Although many of the band members had experience in their high school bands, Doane's new band usually only practices on the weekends, making it difficult to teach elaborate formations.
To keep things simple at first, the band will limit its performance to a couple of fight songs, the national anthem and a few popular rock tunes. The band also will play in the stands throughout the game.
“We're just kind of taking baby steps now,” Nielson said.
“So far, everything has gone smoothly.”