Horns singing and drums pounding, the Marching Tar Heels led fans at the Dean E. Smith Center in a rousing chorus of “Hark the Sound” at the end of Saturday’s Duke loss.
Dressed in black and Carolina Blue uniforms, the band performs arrangements from tedious formations on the football field to rallying cheers next to the basketball court.
“Especially when it's a sold-out stadium, it's so electric,” Sophie Hazuka, a first-year band member, said. “Sometimes, if I go to a game and I'm not in a band, it feels weird being on the other side.”
Hazuka said she decided to join the band out of a combined love for music and making new friends. Though she was nervous for her first game at UNC, Hazuka said being a part of such a big group helped to calm her nerves.
“You're part of something bigger than yourself in that moment,” she said.
Hazuka plays piccolo and flute in the band alongside sophomore Alyssa Wilson. For Wilson, the Marching Tar Heels became a place of “automatic community” from her very first practice.
“I thought that I would be really nervous, but I felt comfortable as soon as I got there, and I just remembered I wanted to talk to everybody,” Wilson said.
The Marching Tar Heels are made up of approximately 275 students and are open to all students, regardless of major.
Jeffrey Fuchs, the director of University Bands, said the Marching Tar Heels is a group of students dedicated to supporting the University community through being in the band.