Frequently asked questions:
Do I have to audition?
Nope! Unlike a lot of bands, especially at larger schools, there is no audition to join the Marching 97. We're thrilled to have you no matter what your level of experience is - current members of the 97 range from high school drum majors and all-state ensemble members to string players playing band instruments for the first time. Whether you come from a championship-winning high school band or you can't tell the difference between a trumpet and a tuba, we're happy to take you and teach you everything you need to know to be a proud member of the Marching 97!
Is the 97 anything like my high school band?
There are a few differences. First of all, there is no roll stepping in the Marching 97. We march in the high-stepping Big 10 style. This means that your foot comes completely off of the ground, your toe is pointed and your thigh is raised until it is parallel with the ground. It takes a little practice, but you'll catch on!
Despite the Big 10 style, the Marching 97 is a very noncompetitive band and a relaxed atmosphere. We rehearse much less than most high-level high school bands, and our drills are a lot easier to learn than most corps style shows because we march in ranks. Shows are easy to create, learn and remember.
Finally, there is no color guard in the Marching 97. However, we have had former color guard members learn how to play instruments and join our ranks!
What if I've never been in a band?
No problem! We have plenty of members who haven't marched or played before - for some, the first time they play their instruments is at band camp! The 97 also has lots of talented musicians who will be happy to help you learn. Almost everyone who joins the Marching 97 has to make a fresh start, as high-stepping and rank marching are new even to former bandmembers.
Wait, you guys go to band camp?
Yes! Band camp lasts for three days prior to freshman orientation. We spend this time in the Poconos learning the first drill of the season. We also play games, have water balloon fights, swim, sing songs, relax, and generally have a fantastic time. Since band camp starts the week before classes, you get to move in before your roommate, get the inside scoop on Lehigh before everyone else, and make lots of new friends (chauffeurs and tutors, too) in the process! Band camp is not required, but is strongly encouraged, especially for incoming freshmen - you'll have 96 new friends before classes even start!
Is the band open to non-Lehigh students?
Absolutely! Students from any of the colleges or universities in the Allentown/Bethlehem area can join the 97, provided the school is a member of the LVAIC and they are able to attend practices and official performances.
Do you play at every game?
We play at all home games and the Lehigh/Lafayette game, whether it's home or away. In addition, we play officially at one away game every year. For all other away games attendance is not mandatory, but to keep the rowdy, fun atmosphere, we usually send a delegation of the marching band to cheer and play to keep the fans and team motivated. These trips are called flames and they are very casual, fun, pep-band style performances independently organized by bandmembers.
What about the time commitment?
Practices are every Tuesday and Thursday after class from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM outside the Rauch Field House on Goodman Campus. We meet outside Zoellner Arts Center and drive over South Mountain to the practice fields. When there is a home game on Saturday, we have an extra practice on Fridays at 4:00 PM. On official game days, expect to be with the band from around 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
While being in the 97 can take up a decent amount of time, the band is very close-knit and practices are usually more fun than difficult. The time commitment is also a lot less than most college or high school marching bands, and members of the Marching 97 have plenty of time to lead active social lives, participate in other extracurricular activities, and keep their grades up.
Who runs the band?
Students! The Marching 97 holds elections at the end of every season to elect a new batch of student officers. There is an executive board of thirteen students who organize all rehearsals, performances, events, fundraising, et cetera. The exec board holds meetings once a week during both fall and spring semesters to make sure that everything goes as smoothly off the field as it does during shows. Even our field shows are created by students, who work together to write drills and pair them with music!
There are two faculty members that help the band, our director Darin Lewis and the Music Department’s Director of Bands David Diggs. They’re there to give advice and support, and to help us learn the drills and music.
This sounds awesome!
Great! That's not a question though.
Oh right. How can I join?!
It's easy! Email one of our freshman and new member managers at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The freshman managers help bring new members into the band and are responsible for making sure your first season with the Marching 97 goes smoothly from band camp to the last game of the season.