A BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium wouldn’t be complete without the Cougar’s marching band.
The band, informally dubbed the “Power of the Wasatch,” consists of 225 student musicians, and performs at all home football games rain, sun or snow. We took a closer look at how this BYU icon prepares for game day.
For the band, game day is truly an entire day. They perform almost constantly from three hours before kickoff until an hour after the final whistle. Despite the multitude of performances, the band only meets three times a week for practice. In approximately five hours, they prepare halftime shows, the pre-game show, the drumline’s lot show, game time tunes, Cougar Canyon and more.
The marching band performs exclusively during the football season, but year-round preparation each fall begins in January. Over 600 students applied for a spot in the 2019 marching band, resulting in a competitive audition process for the 225 available seats.
“Working so closely with people all the time has created lifelong friendships. There is nothing like being on the field. Playing pre-game the first home game every season and being a part of that energy is different than anything else I’ve ever experienced,” band president Travis Killian said.
The Power of the Wasatch, which was first organized in 1908, has a repertoire of deep traditions beloved by many Cougar fans and alumni. The band represents not only BYU but also The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors the university.
Members of the band take their responsibility to represent the university seriously, both in their demeanor as disciples and reputation as a collegiate marching band.
“The most important thing that we can do is to bring other people unto Christ,” Fred Mcinnis, marching band director, said. “A long time ago, I heard someone say, ‘I don’t think people are going to be interested in feeling the spirit if you’re playing the wrong notes or are out of step.”
BYU also has a ROC band, named after the Roar of Cougars student section, which performs during men’s and women’s basketball games. Many members of the marching band also try out for the ROC band.
The dedication demanded from band members and leaders can be intense, but some will say it’s worth the hours they put in. The band is a Cougar game day icon that contributes to BYU’s rich history of tradition and honor.