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A Day in the Life of a College Marching Band Member

Have you ever wondered what a game day looks like from the eyes of a marching band member? No? Well too bad, I’m gonna tell you anyway. :)


Kickoff: 12:00pm


My roommate and I like to wake up to a special alarm on game days because we are NOT morning people. The two songs we pick are the NC State Fight song as well as Mo Bamba. These songs start getting us hype and make us laugh to get ready for game day and are usually followed by other songs that give us game day vibes.


This is the time that the music building opens up so that the drumline and sousaphones can go in early enough to grab their instruments and load them on to our big moving truck that takes them to the stadium.


The twelve or so busses arrive to take the band of about 350+ people to Carter-Finley and are ready to start being loaded up. 


We arrive at Carter-Finley, and we head to the practice fields to run through our pregame and halftime performance. We receive some last minute tips and reminders from our directors, and we get a short water break and time to get dressed.


It’s time to enter our parade block formation. Our parade block is VERY long as we only stand about 5 people wide. Parading is one of my favorite parts of game day because we get to groove to the awesome drum cadences. We always start out with what we call “The Dirty.” If you haven’t seen the marching parade before, it is an experience you must see. 


We begin parading to perform for the “Walk of Champions” which is the entrance of the football players walking into the stadium.

9:30am (approx.)

We perform the fight song and Red and White as we march away as the players come off the busses with their headphones with their own game day vibes playlists playing, preparing themselves to play their best at the game today!


IT’S TIME TO EAT! I am so thankful that the band provides a meal for us on game days because with early start times everything is closed on campus, so I don’t eat before I get on the bus. Some sections have traditions of attending ‘Bo Time” all together at Bojangles as well as lots of other things. After parading, we line up into two lines, and we put a hand on the zipper on the back of the person in front of you ready to unzip as soon as we enter, so we can cool off. Usually, someone starts yelling “OOOOOHHHHH,” and it progressively gets louder the closer we are to the entrance of PNC Arena. Then, there are usually two options of what to eat, and we start chanting, “what’s on the left, what’s on the right,” until someone tells us. Then, we say “ham on the left, chicken on the right.” This helps everyone know what line the need to be in when grabbing their food. 


Time to line up in parade block again, and we have uniform inspections. Making sure everyone has their gauntlets, hats, black socks, marching shoes, gloves, and all that stuff. Some sections have traditions they do at or before this point, but my section likes to get in a circle and sway as we get even more hype for the day.


Start parading to the other side of Carter-Finley and then into our Tunnel. Fun fact, to any NC State marching band member, there is a very good chance “tunnel” will be their favorite word. 


At this point, we are mostly waiting for the game to begin; people use this time for a variety of things: some take a nap, some pray for a safe game, some play cards, some go take pictures, and then there’s me. I like to build pyramids. Human pyramids. The piccolos and clarinets build pyramids, and we try to get bigger each time. 


This is the time when the drumline warms up on the field, and the band does one last warm-up, which sounds amazing in a tunnel by the way.


We begin our pregame performance, and we run out on the field and we begin.


The Team takes the field through our tunnel created as fireworks go off, and we play the fight song, and the stadium cheers ready to start the game. 



That is the typical itinerary for the Power Sound of the South, it varies based on the start time of the game, but we have about 6 hours of activities before the start of the game each time. Being in the band is one of my favorite things, and going through the fall semester without it is very sad, and I miss it a lot. I hope you enjoyed this look into the first half of a marching band member’s day.


Shout out to @packpiccs, @packdrumline, @saxesncsu, and @ncstatemusic for the pictures!

Hey! I’m Sarah. I am currently a Junior in Animal Science with a concentration in veterinary bioscience. Fun fact about me, I am in the Marching Band here at NC State and I play the piccolo.
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