ANN ARBOR, MI (WTOL) - College football, perhaps more than any other American sport, is steeped in game day tradition. Among those hallowed traditions of the game day experience is the school's march band.
At Michigan, the band features 280 musicians who put in tireless work to entertain and pump up the crowds. While they are not competing on the field like Wolverines football team, they prepare like a team heading into the field of play.
Just like football players break into position groups to develop their skills, band members break up into small groups to perfect their sound. And like a football player needs coaching on how to run a particular play, band members get individual coaching to help them get the marching cadence down.
Among the 280 members of the University of Michigan Marching Band is clarinetist Katelyn Work, a senior from Northview High School majoring in chemical engineering. She says the work is tireless, but worth it.
"Rehearsal is an hour and a half five days a week. When there's a game on Saturday, we're there all day," Work said. So it's finding the time to get it all done. I actually think my academics are better in the fall when I do have to balance everything because I know I'm on a regimented schedule. But it works!"
Horn player Amy Fan is a senior in the band from Bowling Green who majors in bio physics.
Before her time in the Big House, Fan says she was not a fan of football. That all changed over her career performing in the Big House in front of more than 100,000 fans.
"Before, I knew nothing about football. I didn't rally care much for it coming here. You pick up things as the season goes," Fan said. "So I wouldn't say I'm a fan, but I do follow it more than I did in the past. It's a bit fun actually to see what's going on and the band makes more sense now that I have a context for it."
Another senior in the band is Olivia Wiese, a neuroscience major from Onsted who plays horn. For Olivia, game day is a special event. That is especially true with the Ohio State game.
"The energy is amazing," Wiese said. "The crowd, it's great! There's nothing else like it, but to perform literally in the biggest venue in the world on a Saturday."