ISU Band Extravaganza showcases four different bands


The Iowa State bands performed in the Band Extravaganza Friday at Stephens Auditorium, entertaining more than 2,000 attendees. 

Katelyn Squiers

Each of the Iowa State bands performed in the Band Extravaganza Friday at Stephens Auditorium. 

“Band Extravaganza is a celebration of all the bands in Iowa State,” said director of bands Michael Golemo. “It’s the concert band, the top jazz ensemble and the Cyclone marching band. It is full of excitement and musicality, and it’s one of the highlights of our season.”

Band Extravaganza typically occurs every year, but it did not take place in the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

“It’s so good to be back playing concerts in front of live audiences and to be back in the stadium,” Golemo said. “We just want to remind everybody to continue to be safe. We’re not done with [COVID-19] yet, so we have to still be vigilant.”

With the lingering nature of the pandemic, it was questionable if this year’s show would have an audience of its usual size. However, the auditorium of over 2,600 seats was almost sold out.

“We were worried about the crowd, but we had to delay the start of the show because so many people showed up,” Golemo said. “There were last minute purchases, and the place was packed and rocking.”

The first performance of the night was by the Wind Ensemble. Directed by Golemo, the Wind Ensemble is a 60 member band that features wind and percussion players.

“My favorite song of the night was the second piece that we played,” Golemo said. “‘Rivers of Air’ by Jake Runestad is just gorgeous, and the writing is superb.”

The next performance featured Jazz ONE, directed by Michael Giles. Their set included a variety of jazz tunes, including “Kogi” and “Hold Music” by Jacob Mann and “Peanut Brittle Brigade” by Ellington and Strayhorn.

State Storm, the junior varsity marching band, entertained during intermission by pumping the crowd up with several pop tunes. Their performance contributed another change in style to the concert, but also a location change, as they performed from the upper-level seats of the auditorium.

Following State Storm’s performance, the drumline of the Iowa State University Cyclone Football’ Varsity’ Marching Band (ISUCF’V’MB) appeared on stage via a rising platform to continue the show.

After a series of drumline features, the rest of the ISUCF’V’MB joined the stage from all directions, where they played some of the highlights from their shows.

Their performance included “Megalovania” by Toby Fox, from the video game “Undertale,” and selections from “King Kong” by James Newton Howard.

“I love ‘King Kong,'” said junior drum major Morgan Wilber. “It’s not one we traditionally play at halftime, but it has a lot more of the competitive marching style, a lot of tempo changes and a lot of time changes, so it’s a good challenge.”

To finish off the show, the marching band played “The Bells of Iowa State” in honor of their seniors before announcing each departing member’s name and instrument.

“I think my favorite moment was standing up front with the seniors and some of my best friends and playing [The Bells of Iowa State] one last time with them,” Wilber said. “I’m a little sad, but I’m really grateful for all the friendships I’ve made.”

Though Wilber is a junior, she will not be participating in marching band for the 2022 season.

The bands still have several performances lined up for the year, but Band Extravaganza was an opportunity for each group to share their talents within one concert.

“Each of the bands bring something special,” Golemo said. “I think [the Wind Ensemble] brings a lot of the musicality and things that you can do with a 60 piece group, and then the jazz band brings their own style and their swing to what we do. Then the marching band has the power, the pride and the excitement.”