Music to her ears: Woman travels to California with IU marching band


At the end of Indiana University’s past two college football seasons, the Hoosiers have gone from one coast to the other.

On Dec. 26, 2015, their 10th bowl game in school history was played at Yankee Stadium, the home of the New York Yankees, in New York City. The Hoosiers, however, lost to Duke 44-41 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Then Dec. 28, 2016, Indiana traveled to Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, to battle No. 19 Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl. The Utes claimed a close victory 26-24.

Despite the losses, several faithful Hoosiers fans were there to support the team.

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So was one other group familiar to the team — the Indiana University Marching Hundred.

The marching band did all it could to give players, coaches and fans the sound they are accustomed to hearing at home games at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.

Jenna Hardin, a 2015 Seymour High School graduate, was among the Marching Hundred members there for both experiences.

“Even though we were out in California, we still had a good crowd show up for the game, whether it was family of the team members, Hundred parents or just IU alumni who now live out there,” Hardin said of the recent game.

“We had good spirits and really thought we could hold our own against a ranked football team,” she said. “Going back and forth with the score and who was leading helped the crowd stay in the game and cheer harder for their favorite team.”

The Marching Hundred was able to carry over some of its traditions, including playing the “Jaws” theme on third down while the crowd does hand motions, the “William Tell Overture” at the end of the third quarter and the school fight song as the crowd sings along.

“There was a smaller crowd there for this game than we are used to, but the fans that were there stayed for the entire game and were all standing up for most of it,” Hardin said. “Even though they weren’t in Bloomington, Indiana, they wanted it to feel as much like home as possible.”

Hardin said her favorite part of the game was how excited the band was to be there and support the football team.

“We felt like we had to make up for most of the student section since they weren’t able to make the trip out there, so it brought our energy to another level,” she said. “Every time we got a chance, we were screaming and trying to pump up the team.”

This is Hardin’s second school year in the Marching Hundred. As an instrumental music education major, she’s required to be a part of the band for at least two years.

Along with playing at all home football games this past season, the band played at one away game, in the homecoming parade and at the Spirit and Traditions pep rally for incoming freshmen.

At the beginning of December, the band members found out all 237 members were going to the bowl game. Director David Woodley made the announcement during the annual banquet to celebrate the season and give out awards.

“I was shocked because we had heard rumors that only part of the band would be able to go because of the expensive costs but was excited to go to two bowl games in two years,” Hardin said.

Everyone’s trip was paid for by the NCAA pension given out for the bowl game, and money was given by the Indiana University athletics department, too, Hardin said. Their flights and hotel rooms were covered, and each member was given a certain amount of money to use for meals.

Before leaving for California, the band had a two-hour rehearsal the week before Christmas break.

“We took one of our halftime shows from the season and shortened it a little bit to use for the game, so we only had to review what we already had learned,” Hardin said.

The band flew out of Indianapolis on a charter flight the morning of Dec. 26. There was a two-hour rehearsal the morning of the game at a high school in Saratoga, California. Utah’s marching band also practiced there.

The Marching Hundred played on the field for pregame and halftime and in the stands during the game.

Pregame consisted of the school song, “Indiana, Our Indiana,” and the Marching Hundred tradition of “Sing, Sing, Sing,” which features the drumline.

For halftime, the band played “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” which featured trumpet solos by Eric Smedley, one of the band’s directors, and Travis Peterson, the principal trumpet player of the Utah Symphony and a Marching Hundred alumnus.

Band members also had the chance to enjoy the sights of the San Francisco Bay area.

Hardin said she visited Chinatown and ate authentic Chinese food, went ice skating in the town square with friends, walked to see Lombard Street and rode an old-time cable car down to the piers and Fisherman’s Wharf. From there, she could see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

“This was my first time in California. I had never been more west in the United States than St. Louis,” Hardin said. “We had a lot of free time to explore San Francisco since our hotel was right downtown.”

The Marching Hundred flew out of San Francisco around noon Dec. 29.

Hardin said it was a great experience for the band.

“From this experience, it shows no matter what you’re involved in that hard work pays off, whether you’re on the football team and you make it to a bowl game or you’re in marching band and you get to go and support them,” she said.

“I was very lucky in high school to have had a student body who loved the marching band, but others in the Marching Hundred did not have that luxury,” she said. “It gives us a sense of pride knowing that picking up a random instrument in middle school and possibly getting ridiculed for being a part of band could pay off in the long run. All of the early practices and 12-hour game days on Saturdays make a bowl trip worth the strife.”

Hardin has since moved on to her second year with the Big Red Basketball Band. That pep band plays at all of the men’s basketball home games, and some members are selected to go on tournament trips, too.

After this school year, Hardin said she won’t be able to continue to be a part of the Marching Hundred.

“My classload is very heavy, and marching band is a huge time commitment,” she said. “I have decided to focus on practicing for the classical side of clarinet and being in a concert band ensemble next fall. I will miss the people I met through the band and fun experiences I had with them.”

She said being involved with the band has enhanced her college experience.

“The Marching Hundred really is like a big family,” Hardin said. “You become very close with your section, as you spend two hours every school day with them, then another 12 hours on Saturday if there is a home game.”

Since anyone can be in the Marching Hundred, it makes the campus of more than 48,000 students a lot smaller since you know more people, she said.

“I find it neat to become friends with other students who are a different major than you are that you usually wouldn’t meet because they aren’t in your classes,” Hardin said. “It’s also a time in my day I look forward to as relaxing. You get to have fun, and it’s not serious a lot of the time. It’s a good stress reliever if homework or tests get too overwhelming.”

Hardin said she will continue to work toward her ultimate goal of becoming a high school band director.

“I hope to teach in the public schools once I get my bachelor’s degree for a few years,” she said. “Then I will hopefully go back to graduate school and get my master’s degree before finding a job that I would like to have for a long time.”

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For information about the Indiana University Marching Hundred, visit


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