Cyclone marching band delivers spirited CyHawk appearance


The ISU Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band performs at a football game last year. 

Maris Cameron

Members of the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band (ISUCF’V’MB) hosted an upbeat halftime show at Jack Trice Stadium for the annual Cy-Hawk showdown Sept. 11. 

With over 61,000 fans in attendance, the marching band emanated Cyclone spirit throughout their day’s performances. From intricate pregame formations to lively stand tunes, these 314 musicians demonstrated how to “be aggressive” in both their playing and marching on the field. 

The band’s halftime show consisted of three pop music hits, including Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” and Jon Batiste’s “I Need You.”

Prior to the game, the marching band also traveled to the south side of Jack Trice to perform for spectators at Reiman Gardens.

Unbeknownst to many fans, hours of practice are set aside by these individuals each week to prepare for game day. Junior mellophone player Kieran VanHorn gave her insight about the trials and tribulations of being in the band.

“Music memorization is a hard skill to conquer,” Vanhorn said. “Learning to breathe effectively as I’m marching is a struggle, too. The amount of drill we do in the ISUCFVMB is significantly higher compared to high school bands.”

“However, I do love large crowds in attendance for games because the more supportive they are for the band, the more adrenaline I feel as a performer on the field,” Vanhorn said.

Musicians on the field are not the only ones contributing to the successful reputation of the band. There are others working efficiently behind the scenes. Often seen in dark gray shirts, assisting band members with broken instruments or tampered uniforms, are the student staff. 

One student staff leader, Kyle Grossnickle, junior majoring in music, shared his views about the game and what it’s like to work with the band. 

“I thought the game went well,” Grossnickle said. “The band adjusted to switching uniforms last minute due to the grueling heat. Seeing them have fun and do well in performances makes the extra hours the student staff puts in more exciting and worth it.”

Director of the marching band, Christian Carichner, expressed his gratitude for being back at Jack Trice. 

“Last year, it was hard to make music together but not see anyone smile,” Carichner said. “It was difficult to keep pushing to improve and ‘keep the band together’ with only intrinsic rewards, but that’s what kept us going.”

“Serving the students, the athletes, the university — it’s so rewarding each and every day to see people smile, dance and wave their hands in the air to ‘Sweet Caroline,’” Carichner said.

The marching band continues to rehearse for upcoming events. Tailgaters can preview halftime shows at the steps of the Iowa State Alumni Center prior to football games each week.