How much time does the Wildcat Marching Band take up?
Not as much as some people think. The band regularly rehearses Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. We perform at all home football games (usually 4–6 per year), which are on Saturdays. Other than that, the band has its preseason "band camp" at the end of August, performs at 1 or 2 band shows, and one away football game per year. Although it is a fall semester course, the marching band season ends when the football season ends. We also make sure the band has a few free weekends throughout the season (no games, etc.). Please see the calendar for more details. Since the football team has been very successful in recent years, we are more likely to be involved in playoff games, so the season may be extended. We won't know locations or whether we will be performing until a week before each playoff game. If it is a home or local game, we will perform. In 2014, the team was the #1 seed going into playoffs and made it to semifinals for the second time in program history. That meant we had several home playoff games and the WMB played at all of them. It was quite possibly the most exciting season we have seen! The team currently holds the record for the longest playoff streak in the nation. We play at playoff games that are home, within day-trip distance, and the championship game in Texas.
You will actually have more free time than you did in high school. Take a look at our sample schedules to get an idea. At many institutions, the marching bands rehearse every day, plus they go to all home AND away games. Their calendars typically go later than our I-FCS football calendar, too, because of bowl games. Those students have the same class schedules you do and manage to make all of that work, so our schedule should be a piece of cake! You will be busy, but it is more than manageable.
What is the difference between the Wildcat Marching Band and the Beast of the East Band?
Both ensembles fall under the umbrella of "Athletic Bands" since they are groups that perform at sporting events. Many students are in both bands, but neither is a prerequisite for the other. The marching band is a fall semester ensemble that performs field shows, wears traditional marching band uniforms, plays in the stands at football games, and also performs in parades. The Beast of the East Band, a pep band, plays at "winter" sporting events (usually October through April), including Men's and Women's Ice Hockey and Basketball. The Beast of the East Band will begin rehearsals a few weeks into the semester. Rehearsals will be held in lieu of some marching band rehearsals, so, if you can fit in marching band, you can fit in pep band. The Beast of the East Band does not march, but plays in the stands at these sporting events. Depending upon the point in the season, the "uniform" usually consists of khakis and the official blue and white UNH Pep Band rugby shirts. Earlier in the season, UNH Band t-shirts may be worn instead (if it is before the rugbies have arrived). The Wildcat Marching Band performs at one hockey game each fall, both to give students a chance to experience a UNH hockey game and to perform down on the ICE for the fans!
What types of performances does the WMB give?
Here's a list of various types of performances the WMB has given in the past. See the calendar for this year's specifics.
- Home football games - pregame, halftime, and sometimes postgame
- Two area high school band shows
- One away football game per year
- Parades (UNH Homecoming, off-campus parades)
- Annual "Band Extravaganza" with UNH Wind Symphony (indoor concert)
- Campus events and pep rallies
- Playoff football games
- One hockey game as a pep band
- Other "big trip" performances (e.g. New Year's Eve parade in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 2009, Magic Kingdom parade in 2015, Montreal Alouettes CFL game in Canada in 2000, concert for Prince Rainier of Monaco in Europe in 2001, and a planned trip to Ireland in 2019-20 that will be open to alumni).
Do I have to be a music major to be in the band?
No! In fact, the majority of the Wildcat Marching Band, Beast of the East Band, and Concert Band are not music majors. We usually have students representing every college on campus in these groups. The Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony are open to all students by audition. While they tend to be made up primarily of music majors, non-majors are welcome to audition for and are sometimes selected for these groups.
But I am a music major!
Music majors, especially those majoring in Music Education, are strongly encouraged to participate in the marching band for at least one year (from the undergraduate course catalog under the Bachelor of Music in Music Education: "At least 1 credit of performance in a jazz ensemble (MUSI 460) and 1 credit of Marching Band (MUSI 454) are highly desirable."). The experience you'll gain will prove very beneficial when it comes time to find a job. This is especially important for students who have not marched before (other than parades). Take advantage of the leadership opportunities and the chance to develop skills on a secondary instrument. Plus, it's a lot of fun and a great way to meet people! Music Education majors typically make up about 25% of the WMB.
Will I have time to work?
Many members of the WMB also hold part-time jobs. There are many jobs available on campus that have flexible scheduling options. Wildcat Transit and UNH Dining are two popular employers, as they have shifts at many times throughout the day and on weekends. Wherever you end up working, make sure you give them a copy of our calendar and rehearsal schedule as early as possible, as work is not considered an excused absence.
Does the WMB compete?
No, we don't. Contrary to what you may have seen in the movie "Drumline," there are actually no real competitions for college-level marching bands. There are some college marching band shows, but these are non-competitive in nature. We do perform in exhibition at one or two band shows per year, but we are not adjudicated, rated, ranked, etc. If you're worried you'll miss competing, just give it a few weeks. You'll probably forget all about competitions! We still work hard to put on the best show we can, but there is no pressure to "do what the judges want." It's a lot of fun.
Is the WMB a course? Do I have to register for it?
Yes! You receive one credit as a benefit of being in the WMB. Most people don't participate for the credit, but it's a nice way to help boost or maintain your GPA. The course is MUSI 454.01. You may also elect to take it for zero credits. It is required that all members register for the course. If you haven't registered yet, online registration will be open during the summer (registrar's website), if you have your RAC (most first-year students don't). After that point you will need to use a paper add/drop form and bring it to the registrar's office after you get on campus in August.
I heard that I can't take more than 18 credits. Is this true?
This is not true. Some students try to get through their degree programs faster than they should by taking 5 4-credit courses in a semester, rather than the recommended 4. To avoid this, advisors sometimes say that 18 is the maximum number of credits allowed. They also limit pre-registration to 18 credits to keep courses from filling up too much. The max is actually 20 credits. Students are strongly recommended to get involved in activities on campus, and music is one of those activities. You just happen to get credit for participating. Ensembles and other "activity-type" classes are not what advisors are worried about in terms of your number of credits. It's even possible to go beyond 20 credits by petitioning the dean of your college. The tuition surcharge is waived by petition for ensemble credits that put you beyond 20 credits (you would have to pay extra for most other courses). That's not recommended because we don't want you to overload yourselves, so make sure you know what you can handle. Remember, there's always the 0-credit option as well in case your department or college does have a lower cap. Students are strongly encouraged to get involved in organizations and activities on campus, we just happen to offer credit as well!
I have a class or lab that meets during marching band rehearsal. Can I still be in the band?
Obviously we prefer that every member be at every rehearsal. However, we currently have a policy that if you have an UNAVOIDABLE COURSE CONFLICT (not work, not a course that you could take at 8 AM instead but don't want to get up that early, etc.) that is REQUIRED FOR YOUR MAJOR, you can miss UP TO 2 hours of rehearsal per week. If you need to miss more than that, it would be too difficult for you to keep up. If you are in this situation, please contact Mrs. Goodwin as soon as possible. If there is another section available, but it is full, we may be able to get you into the non-conflicting section. Please communicate any of these issues! If your conflicting course is ever canceled for the day, you are expected to come to marching band rehearsal. We discourage course conflicts since your absence affects more than just you, but can work with you if there are absolutely no other options.
Can I borrow an instrument from UNH?
That depends what instrument you play. We automatically supply drumline equipment, sousaphones, mellophones, and baritones to players in those sections. If you play piccolo, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, or trombone, we have a few of those available. If you need one of those instruments, please indicate that on the participation form. If you need an alto saxophone or trumpet, we may have a harder time finding one for you. Please keep in mind that instruments are in short supply, so please request one only if you really need it (plastic clarinets are available to clarinet players who do not want to take their wooden instruments outside, "straight" trombones are available for those who do not want to use their F-attachment). You can also look into renting instruments from area music stores as well, especially if you will be playing in additional ensembles. We'll figure something out no matter what, as we don't want a lack of instrument to prevent anyone from marching. Colorguard equipment will automatically be provided as well.
What supplies are required, and how much does it cost to be in the WMB?
While we do not charge a large fee for participation in the band, there are some supplies you are required to have. However, most of these are one-time purchases. Theoretically, you can buy these supplies as a freshman, take good care of them, and they'll last you until you graduate. Here is a list of required items:
- WMB T-shirt - we wear these to game day rehearsals and under the wind and percussion uniforms for all performances. Sometimes it serves as our uniform for on-campus performances or on road trips, so it is important that everyone have one and that they all match (veterans are "grandfathered" to the old shirts while we transition to the new design).
- Shoes - Winds and drumline wear black Super Drillmaster shoes and the colorguard wear nude Balance shoes. These two styles are affordable, comfortable, and appropriate for our style of marching. Winds and drumline may wear other brand black matte-finish marching shoes, provided they resemble the Super Drillmasters.
- Gloves - Members of the wind and colorguard sections wear gloves both for uniformity and comfort. Winds especially may wish to purchase more than one pair in case they lose a glove (or two) throughout the season. Guard members use nude fingerless leather gloves. Woodwinds, especially clarinets, usually cut the fingertips off of the gloves for ease of playing. You don't need to purchase special gloves for that. The drumline does not wear gloves. Cymbal players wear fingerless black leather gloves to protect their hands. Drum majors purchase the same gloves as the winds, but theirs are white.
- Lyre - Instrumentalists (including percussion) are required to own a lyre for their instrument. Everyone is required to have all music at every rehearsal. Flip folders will be provided, but it is important that everyone has a lyre. If you play flute or piccolo, you'll want to order a Flutist's Friend instead of a lyre.
- Participation Fee - All WMB members are required to pay a small participation fee each year. This goes toward upkeep and replacement of uniforms and parts and to help offset costs for various incidentals throughout the season.
- Drumline Fee - Members of the drumline are required to pay a fee to cover the cost of their first pair of sticks, mallets, or cymbal gloves. Making the first pair a flat fee keeps it fair (bass drum mallets are MUCH more expensive than snare sticks, for example). Replacements will be at your own expense and at cost, but most can last the whole season.
- Bodysuit/leotard - Colorguard members wear matching nude bodysuits under their uniforms.
- Colorguard fleece - Colorguard uniforms aren't as warm as marching band uniforms, so each member will wear a personalized fleece in the stands at football games. These are required, again for comfort and uniformity.
- Colorguard jacket - Colorguard members also purchase a uniform wind/rain jacket to wear alone or with the fleece to help protect from the elements.
What are all the optional supplies I see on the order form?
In addition to the required items, you have the option to purchase several other supplies. Here is a list and description of some of these:
- WMB Hooded Sweatshirts - these look the same as the required band t-shirt, but are in sweatshirt form. You won't want to wear these under your uniform, but they come in handy for rehearsals during the colder part of the season and when we go on road trips. They're also just comfortable!
- UNH Marching Band Jacket - Many band members elect to purchase this jacket to wear during colder parts of the season. They are wind and water resistant, full-zip, with pockets. We have the WMB logo screenprinted on the back with your first name and section and the UNH cat head logo embroidered on the front. They are comfortable, water-resistant, and sufficiently warm for the season.
- UNH Marching Band Baseball Cap - This is the official marching band non-uniform hat. While you are not required to own one, it is the only personal headwear permitted in the stands (along with the official knit hats). If you think you'll want to wear a hat in the stands, then you'll need to purchase one of these and/or the knit cap. It has the Wildcat Marching Band logo embroidered on the front.
- UNH Marching Band Knit Cap - These have the same embroidery as the baseball cap. These, along with the baseball caps, will be the only personal headwear permitted in the stands, and will come in handy during the colder part of the season.
- Earplugs - EXTREMELY HIGHLY recommended. We have secured a rather substantial discount (~50%) on universal-fit musicians' earplugs from Etymōtic Research. Hearing loss is a major concern for musicians, and one that tends to not be considered as much as it should. All members should consider wearing hearing protection.
- UNH Wildcat Marching Band String Backpack - Transporting flip folders and water bottles for our band is a big job that our "band wagon" crew takes on. Because the band has been growing, it's become more difficult for them to move everything, so you now have the option to wear one of these string backpacks in uniform as we march to and from the field to bring items you may need. This will also be handy for valve oil, sunglasses, sunscreen, or other items you may need on hand.
- WMB Show T-shirt - Every year, we have a t-shirt designed to fit the show theme. Kappa Kappa Psi sells these as a fundraiser. This is a fun tradition and a great souvenir for the season. Many of these designs are currently decorating the marching band office. Information about purchasing these will be available during the season.
- Bagel Breakfasts - Each day during band camp and every Saturday morning rehearsal, Kappa Kappa Psi provides bagel breakfasts for those who order in advance. For $3 you usually get a bagel, spread, and juice. Since breakfasts aren't covered during band camp, this is a great way to save time and money (and get some energy before lunch). If you want something more substantial, you can pre-pay for breakfast at the dining hall when you complete your order form.
- Band Camp Survival Kits - Kappa Kappa Psi will often sell kits with some handy things to have for band camp. Often included are water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, and other small items.
What campus locations might I need to know for marching band season?
- Paul Creative Arts Center - The music building. This is where most indoor rehearsals and sectionals are held. Our official "classroom" is M226, which is also known as the band room (or, officially, Swain Auditorium).
- Philbrook Dining Hall - This is where the band will eat during band camp.
- Holloway Commons - Connected to the MUB, this is the dining hall where the band usually eats their meals during band camp (not this year) and after Saturday morning rehearsals.
- Bremner (Upper) Field - This is a practice facility often used during band camp. It is located near the football stadium (track) and tennis courts. Bremner field is the artificial turf field visible from Main St.
- Lower Field - Situated beyond Cowell Stadium and next to Bremner Field, this is our primary practice facility during the season.
- Field House - The indoor track (aka the Paul Sweet Oval) is occasionally used by the colorguard for rehearsal in inclement weather. The full band has rehearsed in there as well. The field house is also the location of the restrooms closest to the rehearsal fields.
- Memorial Union (MUB) - You'll walk through here to get to Holloway Commons during band camp. It also houses the UNH Bookstore, mail room, and Computing and Information Services, a few places you may want to visit before the rest of the students arrive on campus.
- Stoke Hall - The registrar's office and business services are located here (it is also a dorm). If you need to make any schedule changes that you can't do online, or if you have any financial matters to take care of, you can do so at Stoke.
- Memorial Field - Field Hockey/Lacrosse Field located in front of the Whittemore Center. We have held rehearsals here in the past. Hopefully we won't need to this year, but just in case...
What is band camp? Is it required?
Band camp is our mandatory pre-season rehearsal time. Typically, it starts six days before classes begin, with the drumline, colorguard, and WMB Council members coming two days earlier. We spend this week learning or brushing up on technique, rehearsing the music, learning drill, and getting to know each other. This is the most important part of the season, since we get so much accomplished. We can usually learn most of our halftime show and address some material from the pregame show. It's especially beneficial for new members, because you get to move in early (three days before the other first-years), learn your way around campus, and make LOTS of new friends. When the rest of the freshmen arrive later that week, you'll have a huge jump on them. In addition to the rehearsals during the day, there are also usually evening activities that are designed for everyone to get to know each other. In the past, this has included scavenger hunts, section olympics, a "no-talent show," and game nights. Even though people are usually pretty tired at the end of the day, most choose to stay for these activities because they're a lot of fun.
Because we learn so much during band camp, it is required for all members to attend. Occasionally, people must miss for a verified excused absence. In these rare circumstances (which must be approved in advance) the students do not march the portions of the show that they miss learning. This saves the ensemble time so we don't have to re-teach the show for those few who did not learn it. If you absolutely must miss part or all of band camp, you must let Mrs. Goodwin know as soon as possible. We may decide it's better for you not to participate this year.
The band pays for your on-campus housing until dorms open and pays for many of your meals (except breakfast, lunch the first day and dinner on the second day) until meal plans start up (move-in day for the rest of your class). It is important that we have an accurate count of who is going to be there so that we pay for the right number of rooms and meals.
What should I bring to band camp?
The short answer is "everything you'll need for the semester" since you'll be moving into your dorm. Here's a list of more specific items you'll need/want for the week:
- Anything you need for your instrument to work properly (reeds, oil, etc.)
- A check (NO CASH) to pay for supplies if you didn't pay online
- Comfortable clothes for indoor and outdoor rehearsals. Check the weather.
- Sneakers (preferably cross-trainers or athletic walking shoes) for marching rehearsals. No sandals, heeled shoes, or boots. Feel free to change footwear when we're indoors, but you'll need appropriate footwear outside to be able to use proper technique and avoid injury. We don't wear uniform shoes to rehearsal.
- Socks (make sure you have long black socks or tights for performances, too)
- Bug repellent
- Highlighter (for drill charts)
- Water bottle (BIG)
- Hat or visor
- Light rain jacket
- Folder or 3-ring binder (not required, but helpful for organizing handouts, drill, music, etc.
- Lyre (instrumentalists only - if you already own one).
- Drill/coordinate sheets and music once it's handed out
- Khaki pants (instrumentalists): this is part of the required campus performance uniform. No ripped or cargo pants. Khaki shorts are permitted for some performances, but there will be times when you need khaki pants.
When do I get to move into my room?
Housing representatives will be available on the first day of band camp during limited hours. For WMB Council, Colorguard, and Drumline members, they will be available 11:00 AM–1:00 PM. For Winds, they will be available 8:00–10:00 AM. You can check into your dorm at any time during those hours and start moving in your belongings. At some point between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM on the first full-group day, come over to the PCAC to check in for marching band, but we won't meet as a group until 1:00 PM. So you have from 8:00 AM until 1:00 PM to get your stuff moved in and to grab lunch. You'll continue to get settled in your room throughout the week. See this year's band camp schedule for more details.
Can I do marching band and PAWS, PrOVES, CONNECT, or another pre-orientation program in August?
Unfortunately, due to schedules, most pre-orientation programs and marching band don't mix. You would have too miss too much of band camp for us to allow. However, one of the main attractions of those programs is the chance to meet a lot of new people before everyone moves in. Well, you'll get to do that in marching band! If you were interested in some of the other aspects (e.g. service in PrOVES), there will be plenty of opportunities to participate in that sort of activity through other organizations during the school year.
If there are any programs you want to participate in before orientation, check the dates. If they don't conflict, then you're all set! For example, the Marine Immersion program usually ends the day before winds move in. So, if you're a wind player, you can easily do both. Please be aware that any housing issues for other programs need to be taken care of directly through those programs and/or the department of housing. You will still be able to move in during your assigned window for band camp, but if you need an exception made, please handle that through the other program.
I'm interested in performing in a concert or jazz ensemble. How can I do that?
Many members of the WMB also play in the UNH Concert Band, conducted by Casey Goodwin, or the UNH Symphonic Band, conducted by Mark Zielinski. The Symphonic Band and Concert Band schedules complement the WMB schedule nicely, as they don't rehearse on the same days. Symphonic Band (MUSI 453) rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:40–5:00 PM in the band room, and the Concert Band (MUSI 451) rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:40–7:00 PM. Auditions for acceptance into Symphonic Band and for seating purposes in Concert Band are held during the first week of school. You may also audition for membership in the UNH Wind Symphony or Symphony Orchestra, the top instrumental groups on campus. While the Wind Symphony and the wind and percussion sections of the Symphony Orchestra are made up primarily of music majors, there are occasionally non-majors who are selected for membership. String players audition for seating purposes only and are both music majors and non-majors.
There are two jazz bands in the music department, both auditioned. Like the other ensembles, these are open to anyone, regardless of major. The UNH Jazz Band is usually made up primarily of music majors, but it, along with the 4:00 Jazz Band, also accepts non-majors. There are specific requirements for the audition, so see the audition pages here and here or come by the PCAC for additional information.
If you are interested in singing, the UNH Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. William Kempster, is for you. The Concert Choir rehearses Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 4:00–5:30 PM in the Bratton Recital Hall. You do not need to audition to be in the group; just show up to the first rehearsal and add it to your schedule. The UNH Jazz Choir is new for 2015 and is under the direction of Dr. Liz Tobias. It rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:40–7:00 PM. Information about auditions will be available on the Department of Music website.
Come by the PCAC to sign up for audition times and to pick up audition pieces (if required) as soon as you get on campus in August. Audition music will also be available on this website.
What do all these abbreviations stand for?
- WMB - Wildcat Marching Band
- BotEB or BotE - Beast of the East (Pep) Band
- PCAC - Paul Creative Arts Center (Music/Art/Theatre building)
- MUB - Memorial Union Building (student union)
- T Hall - Thompson Hall (often talking about T-Hall lawn)
- Whitt - Whittemore Center (home of the hockey arena)
Is there financial aid available for band members?
Unfortunately, because of scholarship deadlines, we are unable to offer financial aid to new members. There are limited scholarship opportunities for veterans.
When can I get my music?