Cornhusker Marching Band travels to Ireland for a unique opportunity | State and Area News


Katherine Schmit’s first trip overseas will be a whirlwind.

Pep Rallies, a half-time show and an abbreviated tour of Dublin.

Schmit and a scaled-down Cornhusker Marching Band – 48 members and two managers – will make the trip to Ireland when the Huskers play the North West next Saturday in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

The team’s first attempt to play in Ireland was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be the football team’s first road game since 1992, when the Huskers faced Kansas State in Tokyo, which Nebraska won 38-24.

The full Cornhusker Marching Band has about 300 members, said director Tony Falcone. The smaller contingent presents a balanced grouping of instruments. Most people heading to Ireland are older people.

The trip is a special experience for students like Schmit, 21, and fellow drum major Ian Maltas, 22.

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“It’s a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Maltas said. “Representing the band when we travel is one of the most exciting things we have to do.

The band will play three tracks at halftime, including one with the band Northwestern. At other Dublin engagements, the band will play more traditional school songs, Falcone said.

To make things easier – especially when time is short – the band will play songs they already know. They bring upbeat pop tunes to the field.

Some of Schmit’s favorite suitors are Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u”, Demi Lovato’s “Confident” and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”. Maltas supported Rodrigo’s tune.

Some of the school songs will be played at pep rallies.

Despite only a three-day trip – and a busy schedule of rehearsals and other commitments – band members will still be able to visit Dublin. Falcone said the itinerary prepared by event organizers will allow them to see the city.

Travel costs for band members are covered by the athletic department, a department spokesperson said.

For many students, Falcone said, this is their first time leaving the country. Schmit said she was happy to travel in general. But going abroad for the first time is another advantage.

“Because of COVID, we haven’t traveled much with the band for the past two years,” she said. “It’s a great way to celebrate, especially the elderly, their time in the Cornhusker Marching Band.”

As drum majors, Schmit and Maltas help lead the band. But for the pep band-style performance in Ireland, Schmit will play trumpet and Maltas will play trombone.

Packing band members’ instruments and bulky uniforms won’t be easy.

Many instruments can be checked in with baggage. More fragile instruments could be transported on the plane.

Uniforms will be packed in garment bags inside suitcases. Schmit said they were encouraged to bring larger suitcases to fit in uniforms with everything else. This way, they won’t have to pay extra baggage fees.

In Ireland, Falcone said the group would do their best to encourage the Huskers to win.

Schmit is looking forward to the trip — and then a three-game home streak once he returns.

“I’m really looking forward to representing Nebraska all the way to Ireland and spending some quality time with some of my favorite people,” Schmit said. “I feel really lucky to have this opportunity to represent our school and our state.”


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