The Cougar Marching Band rehearses in its recently completed band hall in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The new facility was funded entirely by donors.
After 100 years of performing day or night in all kinds of weather, the 225-member Cougar Marching Band is rising and shouting in celebration of its new home.
"We've practiced rain, sleet, or snow, but when you can't move your hands, it's hard to play your instrument," says senior drum line section leader, Joey Fitch. "Now it's a different feeling having somewhere to go."
Grateful to be home
The recently completed Cougar Marching Band Hall at LaVell Edwards Stadium provides a central location for rehearsals and much-needed storage space for uniforms, instruments, and other equipment.
The two-floor structure, which can be seen on the underside of the west bleachers of the stadium, was funded entirely by donors. Don Peterson, who weathered many a storm in his 21 years as band director, says, "Having the band's home in LaVell Edwards Stadium, with its tradition, is so important for the band students."
Over the last century, the highly regarded band has been housed in numerous campus locations, from College Hall next to the Academy building to the Harris Fine Arts Center.
Current band director Fred McInnis says, "With as much effort and time as these students put in, this facility will finally give them a place to call home, a place to give them some identity."
The band has many admirers. John Woods, director of Ohio State's marching band, said, "The BYU Marching Band is one of the finest collegiate marching bands in the country."
In addition to indoor rehearsal space, the new facility includes band offices, instrument lockers, and video screens that assist in streamlining marching routines.
Dale Monson, director of the BYU School of Music, says: "The band has never had any facility before—students were storing instruments in car trunks or renting out storage lockers, or taking them home. This is quite a momentous time for the band."
Band president and student Chrissy Kemp says: "We're grateful that people have contributed to this facility and have recognized the hard work we put in. We've always been behind the teams, now we have a place with them."