As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan how the marching band decides which athletic events to travel to.
According to the associate director of bands and director of the Cornhusker Marching Band Tony Falcone, the band is fully funded by the Athletic Department, so the department plays a large role in determining which events the band goes to.
When talking about NCAA volleyball tournament games specifically, the band plays at every home match. This year, Nebraska’s first and second rounds were played at home, so the band was there.
Nebraska then moved onto the Sweet 16 to beat Hawaii and then the Elite Eight, where it lost toWisconsin. Both of these matches took place in Madison, Wisconsin. Hawaii and Wisconsin had their bands with them, but Nebraska’s band stayed home. However, Falcone noted that if Nebraska had made it to the Final Four, they would have sent the band.
“I'm sure it's [a] purely budgetary decision made by the department,” Falcone said.
For football, the band travels to one away conference game. The band and the Athletic Department discuss and come to an agreement on which game would be best to travel to based on both of their schedules.
The Cornhusker Marching Band and The Big Red Express (the band that plays at volleyball games, basketball games and other sporting events) are separate. However, there is a lot of overlap, and students play for both groups. About 60% of the people in The Big Red Express are also members of the marching band, according to Falcone.
The overlap in members also has a lot to do with which sporting events they play at. If there are multiple events happening on the same day, it can be hard to make sure they’re all covered.
“We typically don't go to away football games in November because then basketball, volleyball and football are all going on at the same time,” Falcone said. “It's a matter of scheduling and budget.”