These students practice every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours and on Fridays for an additional two hours if there’s a home game that weekend.
Unlike high school marching band, where players have the entire year or season to perfect one halftime show, college marching bands perform a different show almost every home game, giving them only six to 16 hours to learn both the music and marches, according to senior and tuba section leader Megan Goldsby.
As a whole, marching band members spend nearly 10 hours of their Saturday at the game, which, including their practice, results in a 16 hour week.
“I would say on average you normally get there about five hours before the game starts,” Goldsby said.
Goldsby said these five hours are packed full with warming up, practicing, performing at Tar Heel Town, performing in front of Wilson Library, leading a mini parade to the stadium and then playing at the pregame.
Not to mention, on hot days the uniform is not ideal. If it’s extremely hot, they don’t have to wear them while practicing. However, on most game days, junior and piccolo section leader Nikki Newman said their uniform consists of shorts, a T-shirt, tall socks, bibbers (overalls), a jacket, a shield over the jacket, a backpack, ball cap and a shako (cap with the plume).
“Those uniforms suck,” Newman said. “In the heat, it’s awful they’re so hot.”
Of course, other weather extremes cause issues as well. Earlier this season, UNC played Virginia Tech during Hurricane Matthew. For the marching band, this meant wearing ponchos and playing their instruments in the rain.