A Gameday in the Life of the Blue Band Drum Major

There’s nothing quite like that feeling of a home football game at Beaver Stadium, especially during Homecoming Weekend. With the Northwestern game coming up tomorrow, the gameday experience is going to be another great one.

An integral part of that gameday experience is, of course, our awesome Blue Band. Drum Major Chris Siergiej, who you see nailing flips with ease prior to every game, takes that to heart.

Penn State fans often taken for granted just how much work goes into that preparation (Chris goes for a two-mile run before every game, for heaven’s sake), so Chris gave us a breakdown of what his average gameday is like. Check it out:

A Day in the Life of the Blue Band Drum Major for a Noon Kick

5:30 a.m. – Get up at “O-Dark-Thirty” and wake up my other roommates by shouting “IT’S GAMEDAY!!!” Gather my Shako hat, whistle, and student ID, and head to the Blue Band Building

6:30 a.m. – Arrive at the Blue Band Building. Make myself a black coffee and eat some fruit. Gotta bulk up!

7:00 a.m. – Practice starts. Lead the band in stretches and warm-ups; get the band enthusiastic for the day. Go for a short two-mile run to get the legs moving.

8:00 a.m. – Final run of our pre-game performance. Last chance to flip with the Blue Band before the intimidating Beaver Stadium performance! My family had a trampoline while I was growing up, and I was always able to tumble on there. One day, I went to my high school’s football field and attempted to tumble on grass — and to my surprise, it worked!

8:15 a.m. – Listen to Dr. Bundy’s last remarks before our Game Day performance. He’ll always end the meeting with “Carpe the Heck out of the Diem!”

8:20 a.m. – Get into uniform room and change into the Drum Major.

8:30 a.m. – Depart the Blue Band Building for Team Walk.

8:45 a.m. – Team Walk performance. Play school fight songs. Play crowd pleasers such as In It To Win It (“Hey Let’s Go State”).

9:45 a.m. – Arrive back at the Blue Band Building. Eat some lunch — if I’m not feeling too nervous for the day — which consists of a hoagie, a bag of chips, an apple, and chocolate chip cookie.

10:25 a.m. – Sing our Alma Mater with the entire Blue Band.

10:35 a.m. – Parade from Blue Band Building to Beaver Stadium, hand out some high-fives to the crowd, sing our fight songs, and spin the mace.

11:15 a.m. – Arrive in The Tunnel at Beaver Stadium, and find a room to stretch and put on cleats.

11:25 a.m. – Make my way out to the field. Get a feel for the crowd and a feel for the grass to get stretching in.

11:40 a.m. – Stand on the sideline and wait for Nittany Lion to point at us. That’s the cue to start marching off.

11:42 a.m. – Blow the whistle and The Blue Band starts to “Drop Turn” (in order to face the North). There’s no turning back now!

11:43 a.m. – Execute pre-game flips! The flip was started in 1971 and there have been 17 drum majors since then that have performed the flip.

11:57 a.m. – Try not to get run over by the football team while it’s running onto the field.

12:00 p.m. – Go into the stands and start conducting The Blue Band.

approx 2:00 p.m. – Halftime performance! Lead the band out onto the field and go to the leftmost ladder to conduct the band.

approx 4:00 p.m. – Postgame performance! Conduct our special arrangement to the Nittany Lion, “Lion Special.” Give high-fives to fans while marching out of Beaver Stadium and back to the Blue Band Building.

approx 4:30 p.m. – Arrive at the Blue Band Building for a wrap-up meeting with everyone.

4:30 p.m. – Clean the Blue Band Building and depart!

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About the Author

Amber Kloper

Amber is a first-generation Penn Stater--class of 2016--studying broadcast journalism and business. She likes THON and traveling and reading and writing and music and words and rambling.

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