Drumline: Huskie-style

By Jermaine Pigee

Between prepping, playing and traveling, a lot of work goes into the Huskie Marching Band.

The season starts with a week-long band camp in August and then there are regular rehearsals during the semester.

“The band rehearses on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday over at Huskie Stadium,” said drumline instructor Phil Beale. “The drumline has an extra private rehearsal on Tuesday night, so the drumline rehearses everyday.”


A lot goes into what the marching band wears.

“We wear black shoes with white spats over them,” said sophomore music education major and drum major Kevin Nevsimal.

“Our pants are black bibs with a red stripe on the side. A jacket goes over that with the interlocked NIU logo on the front side.”

Attached to the jacket is a red and white reversible cape bearing “NIU.” The band wears hats called “shakos,” with metallic plumes.

“A special tradition that the band has is after a Huskie victory, we unbutton our capes so that the red is the only part showing,” said senior geography major and clarinet player Kara Haller.

Band Camp

The marching band has extended rehearsal on game days.

“On game days, the band rehearses for three hours in the morning,” Kara Haller said. “We then perform our Huskie preview show located in Central Park West, followed by a performance for the tailgaters.”

The marching band performs the majority of their shows in Huskie Stadium. They only travel to one game a year, as well as to various exhibition performances in the area.

“This year, we went to the Ohio State game,” Beale said. “Last year was Toledo.”


“Generally our season ranges from one extreme to the other,” Kara Haller said. “It tends to be very hot during band camp. The first few games also tend to be hot, especially because we wear wool uniforms for seven hours on game days.”

Because the marching band season starts with band camp in August and ends close to Thanksgiving, the marching band experiences all kinds of weather.

Kevin Nevsimal mentioned that by the end of the season in late November, it is not unusual for it to be below freezing.

“Last year during the Toledo game, it snowed for most of the game,” Nevsimal said. “The band is used to practicing and performing in rain or snow.”