The First Few Days After Joining the Marching Illini (With Pictures)

Early on Friday, August 25, the Marching Illini released the 2017 performance block results. When I checked my phone, eager to see the results, I was ecstatic. I was in! Excited to share the news, I immediately texted my family and friends back home before falling asleep again for a few hours. I was unaware of the intense, exciting, and long weekend that was ahead of me.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were easily the highlights of my 2017 Preseason Camp. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Everything we did was another memory I wanted to capture forever.

Which leads me to this post! After finding all these old photos, I knew I wanted to share the experience. If you’re wanting an inside look at what the schedule is like your first few days after becoming an official member (or if you just love pictures filled with orange and blue), look no further. While I was not able to capture every event on our schedule, I believe I captured most. Here’s what life is like Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the end of the Marching Illini Preseason Camp.

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 Friday 8/25

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Early Saturday morning, I reported to the historic Harding Band Building to pick up my official Marching Illini polo.

8:45AM to 11:00AM

Here, I pose with the other new members of the baritone section as we prepare for a performance at the Class of 2021 New Student Convocation. At the performance, we played various traditional pieces you’ll hear us play on all football game days, such as Revised Entrance #3, Oskee Wow Wow, Hail to the Orange, Illinois March, and Illinois Loyalty.

You get to make some pretty great friends in the Marching Illini!

12:00 PM

After our performance at the State Farm Center, we headed out to lunch. And good thing, too! My stomach was growling! Just like football game days, Jimmy John’s graciously made around 375 sandwiches to feed the Marching Illini. Earlier in the week, we submitted our orders for them to prepare, and the restaurant uses the same orders to prepare our game day meals.

Whenever Jimmy John’s is provided, I pick up a roast beef sandwich, chocolate chip cookie, and chips! You can’t go wrong with a lunch like that!


After eating my lunch at my dorm room, I reported back to the Harding Band Building to pick up my 2017 Marching Illini merchandise. It was a beautiful day outside, so I decided to ride my bike across campus to get there.


Picture provided by the School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


At 3:00PM, I attended the School of Music New Student Welcome event. The event was open specifically for the School of Music’s Class of 2021. As a freshman in instrumental music education, I attended to meet my fellow classmates and new professors. I also heard about music-related registered student organizations and how to get involved as a freshman. I’m glad I get to graduate with this great group of musicians in a few years!


At this time, my first official MARCH-OUT from the Armory to Memorial Stadium took place. Let me tell you—participating in MARCH-OUT is a blast! If you ever have the chance to catch the band as we march from the Armory to Memorial Stadium on game days, go watch! Our job is to represent our team and our college well as we prepare for another Illini Victory!

After arriving at memorial stadium, I learned where I sit in the stands on game day, how we know what tunes to play and when, and how different the stadium was from marching on our practice field!



After our time in the stands, we marched through another few hours of rehearsal before finally being dismissed for the night.

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Saturday 8/26

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Saturday morning, everyone reported for a rehearsal on the Marching Illini practice field. Here, while taking a break, I took a quick photo of all the baritones in my section lined up in a row. Attention to detail is an important part of what makes the Marching Illini the Nation’s Premier College Marching Band.


After a lunch break, we marched from the practice field to Memorial Stadium to play for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. This was a fun way to meet the team and let them know about the support we will give them through the season.

We played the same various pieces of music we play at football games to cheer our team on. In the picture above, I took a selfie with Squad 1—the group of individuals the Marching Illini partnered me with in order for us to learn and clean drill quicker and more efficiently.

We watched some of the team practice before our meeting.


Later that night, we performed for the wonderful Class of 2021 Sights and Sounds event! We performed our traditional Pregame for the crowd, and listened to some speakers talk about the different activities and events available to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student body.

The Marching Illini got to pass around the inflatable beach ball as well! Fun!

Professor Houser dismissed the band after we finished taking a picture with the class of 2021 and marching out of the stadium.

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Sunday 8/27

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Sunday of Preseason camp was a great day…PICTURE DAY! When I woke up, I rushed to put on my official Marching Illini Uniform. Thankfully, my roommate took this picture of me before I hurried out the door. (I sent this picture to my parents as well. They loved it!).

Before picture day, I never walked around Memorial Stadium to take in all the beautiful views it has. But now, I’m glad I finally got to experience it. The attention to detail within the stadium’s architecture is breathtaking.

Finally, after every member had their individual and section pictures taken, we grouped together in the stands for one large group picture. It was a neat experience to see the sea of orange capes in front of me.

 . . .

That’s all the pictures I have to share! Unfortunately, because we were performing, I was not able to get any pictures of our final activity before the end of Preseason Camp, Quad Day. Quad Day was a blast to perform at, just like Sights and Sounds.

I’m thankful for the wonderful time I have had in the Marching Illini so far. While this post is specifically for my first few days of membership, I have a lot more photos I’m sure I will include in future posts.

Thank you for reading! Make sure to catch the Marching Illini in action every home football game day. We do our best to get the crowd and team HYPED! Until next time, I-L-L!


Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Brittany Lower

September 19, 2017, 2:58 am

Glad to see the band getting the attention it deserves from a really great point of view!!!