Cornhusker Marching Band Highlights concert is Dec. 7
calendar icon20 Nov 2023 user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen
Lincoln, Neb.—It’s showtime as the Cornhusker Marching Band Highlights concert returns to the Lied Center for Performing Arts for their annual Season Highlights Concert on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Come experience the sights and sounds of The Pride of All Nebraska.
“The concert features all seven halftime shows from the 2023 season, along with our Pregame Spectacular,” said Tony Falcone, senior lecturer, associate director of bands and director of the Cornhusker Marching Band. “You’ll hear the sounds of our talented musicians and witness the visual artistry of our Color Guard and Twirlers.”
This year’s band included representatives from nearly every region of the country, though 75 percent of the students are from Nebraska. Twenty-two percent of the students have majors in the Glenn Korff School of Music. The rest are studying in 60-plus other degree programs across campus.
Jason Manzitto, a junior music education composition major from Lincoln and a drum major, said the best part of the Cornhusker Marching Band is forming connections with everyone.
“We come from all over, and we’re brought together by our shared love for band,” he said.
For Manzitto, being a drum major meant a lot to him and his family.
“My great grandfather was a member of the Marching Red in 1954 while he was completing his Master of Music degree at the University of Nebraska,” he said. “He even got to travel to the 1955 Orange Bowl. I know it means a lot to all of us in the band that, for a few Saturdays in the fall, we get to don a white coat and red pants just like those who come before us have for almost 90 years. The fact that we get to carry on the legacy and traditions of, not only the band, but the greatest fan base in college football, is a remarkable opportunity.”
Drum major Madison van Ophem, a senior majoring in forensic science and biochemistry from Overland Park, Kansas, said this has been an amazing season for the band.
“Some of my favorite memories are always the exhibition performance and playing with the alumni band,” she said. “Besides those two, I always look forward to playing Band Song on Gamedays. All of the music this season has been great, but I really love the music for our ‘Dark Heroes’ show for the Iowa game. It has all been fantastic.”
Steffani Nolda, a senior music education major from North Platte, Nebraska, and a drum major, said this season had a lot of variety in their programs.
“I really have enjoyed a lot of our halftime shows this year,” she said. “We have done a little bit of everything—from Barbie to Taylor Swift. One of my favorite things is getting to see the student section interact and sing along with our halftime shows.”
For Vilynn Decker, a junior music performance major from Saplehurst, Nebraska, and a drum major, the Veterans Day game was the highlight of the season.
“I’m a trumpet player with the 43rd Army Band, and the Army Band was invited to march with the Cornhusker Marching Band for halftime on Veterans Day,” she said. “I got to change into my dress blues and conduct on the center podium to open the show. Then, I ran down to grab my trumpet to march and play with the Army Band on the field. I’m so grateful to be a part of both groups, and it was fantastic to have them there at the same time. Many members of the 43rd are alumni of the CMB. I loved seeing them relive their memories on the field.”
Van Ophem said “The Pride of All Nebraska” is not an overstatement.
“To me, being a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band is representing all of the best aspects of our university and state,” she said. “We cheer on our team/school, we support each other in and out of rehearsal, and we work insanely hard to produce substance for our community.”
“I believe that a lot of the Nebraska fan base looks up to us as a big aspect of the game day experience,” Nolda said. “We bring the ultimate hype to the stadium, rain or shine.”
Van Ophem encourages people to attend the highlights concert.
“The highlights concert is such a fun way to relive all of the performances of the season,” van Ophem said. “Bringing the band together for one last show provides a fulfilling end to the season and allows everyone to appreciate our growth and hard work that started earlier this year.”
Van Ophem said serving as drum major this season provided the perfect way for her to end her marching band experience.
“I never would have thought that when I joined band in fifth grade that I would be able to lead one of the best bands in the country with a smile on my face every day,” she said.
For Nolda, the best part of being part of the Cornhusker Marching Band is the comraderie.
“We truly support each other throughout our college careers,” she said. “We always will have backs, and we also get to have a lot of fun cheering on the Huskers and get to play fun music at the same time.”
Tickets for the Highlights concert are $20 adults and $10 students/seniors and can be purchased in advance through the Lied Center for Performing Arts Box Office at (402) 472-4747 or online at https://go.unl.edu/cmbhighlights.
The Cornhusker Marching Band resides in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music.