Courtney Lare

Band Story

Sept. 15, 2006

By Courtney Lare
Hilliard, Ohio
Class of 2007

“Don’t play,” Kim told me.

It was the start of the fourth quarter, and the Drum Major had just signaled that we were going to play Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“Excuse me?” I asked her.

“Don’t play, just watch.”

This was my first Notre Dame game, and I had worked hard to earn my spot in America’s first University band. I was both terrified and excited; even just the thought of playing a song inside this great stadium gave me butterflies in my stomach. So why was some senior was telling me not to?

“No way,” I thought to myself. “I’m a part of the Band of the Fighting Irish, and I’m going to act like it.”

As the Drum Major raised his arms to start the song, Kim turned to me again, encouraging me to not play. I stared at her like she was stark raving mad, and in that split second, I missed the beginning of the song. I was highly irritated, and as the seconds ticked by I was becoming more and more flustered as I was only a freshman and didn’t yet know the song well enough to jump into it in the middle. For about five seconds I was totally lost – in a stadium of 80,000 strong I felt alone and isolated. I was just one little piccolo player…insignificant, right? It’s not like I made any difference being there; besides, who would miss the fact that I wasn’t playing?

I looked up to try and get my bearings, and suddenly realized exactly why Kim had been telling me to just watch and not play. The entire student section was on their feet, their arms waving in the air in time with our song. They stood in solidarity with our coach and with our team, and I very suddenly came to the startling realization that I was not just part of the Notre Dame Band, but of the Notre Dame Family.

What I took away from that moment was the knowledge that this was not just about football, it was about coming together for a common purpose.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned alumnus or a scared freshman with an instrument, we are all here to support the Irish and everything we do counts. Any one member of the band alone in the stadium is just a talented musician in a nice uniform, but together, we’re 400 strong and we can take the field by storm. We work hard to bring you a great show every Saturday, and we have earned a reputation as one of the top college bands in the nation. We come to games not only to entertain the crowd, but to make noise and to galvanize others in support of the team…our team.

So I encourage you to look up and take it all in – realize what you are a part of and take advantage of it. I have come to appreciate what a great privilege it is to be a member of this band and of this University, and I’ll be down there making every second count. I encourage you to do the same.