“The marching band is really the heart of the spirit,” Finnerty states as he talks on the OSU marching band going to the bowl game


Hugh Finnerty, fourth-year marching band member

Travel photo of the marching band with their busses. Taken in Reno.

Georgina Paez, Assistant Sports Editor

Early on Thursday morning, at 3 A.M., the OSU marching band boarded their bus to travel to Las Vegas to take on the bowl game this Saturday.

If some might recall, the previous year’s journey to the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl Game did not go as smoothly as the band hoped. A bus had encountered snowfall on the Oregon border and had to spend a night in Medford to take a longer coastal route.

But this year, fifth-year trumpet player Hugh Finnerty, explains that this year’s travel has gone a lot smoother than last year. “Part of this year going a lot smoother was the upfront planning; making sure we can put some padding into our schedule that wasn’t there last year. We even have a full day on Friday to rehearse and prepare so if something goes wrong, we’ll have some extra wiggle room so we could show up the morning of Saturday and still perform.”

According to Finnerty, the OSU marching band will be practicing at Sierra Vista High School instead of Allegiant stadium, while the Florida Gator band will be practicing in a different high school.  “The hashes are obviously different there and that could cause some confusion,” Hugh explains. “But we’ll put some tape down and that will be nice to have there.”

In contrast to a regular home game show which is 10 minutes, the band will only have around 5-6 minutes to perform as they also share the stage with the Florida Gators. Fifth-year transfer student and trumpet player, Cole Keady, elaborates on what the band plans to perform on Saturday: “We don’t have anything new, we’re just adapting things we’ve already been playing throughout the season. We’ll be performing our Phil Collins show, but an abbreviated version. But we don’t have a whole lot of time, so that’s why we had to be able to abbreviate it and make time for the other band.”

So while the show might be shorter, the band team will all still be there in full force. “Originally, we were only going to be able to bring 50 people,” Finnerty says. “And then we appealed to the bowl, who decides how much funding they have, how many people we can take along with the band’s budget for that year, and how much was donated. So we managed to raise it up to everybody who wants to come on this trip, which is virtually the full band.”

Due to the campaigning by the band mentioned by Finnerty, there will be 227 members of the marching band performing at the bowl game this year. This helps the band tremendously when it comes to planning out the performance: “It’s going to be virtually the same as we performed it at Reser, so that’ll make it easier to get everybody up to speed,” Finnerty says. “If we were taking fewer people than that we would have had to rewrite the visual part of the show and that takes a long time to learn.”

So with the whole band there, they are ready to take on Saturday to the best of their ability. “The marching band is really the heart and the spirit,” Finnerty states. “We call ourselves the spirit and sound of OSU. So when we show up, you know, there’s going to be people cheering and it’s always a good time.”

For some, like Keady, this is going to be their first time in Vegas. And with the little free time the band has in between events, Keady hopes to see some of that Las Vegas magic: “I hope to get to soak up as much as I can and kind of enjoy it while I’m here,” Keady says. “I definitely want to come back another time and get a bit more full experience, but it’ll be pretty fun being at the game and being at the bowl for this opportunity.”

The band will be documenting the rest of their endeavors on Instagram and TikTok, as well as being seen this Saturday during the Las Vegas Bowl Game. Kickoff at 11:30 A.M.


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