A New Era for ASU's Marching Band As Well

ASU Band Director Jim Hudson is entering his second year, yet they are many similarities between him and first-year ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson. Just like the later is infusing new life in the Sun Devils football team, Hudson is improving the band in every imaginable way on its way of becoming one of the best ensembles in all of college football.

Jim Hudson isn't in Kansas anymore (as in the University of Kansas where he last worked), and ASU Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing Steve Hank couldn't be happier that Hudson has joined the ranks of the maroon and gold.

"He's a truly a visionary that writes a lot of the marching band shows for other universities across the country," said Hank, "including the show the Michigan band is doing for the game against Notre Dame."

ASU President Dr. Michael Crow has been making a big push in recent years to take the ASU's Marching Band to a higher level, and his efforts are paying dividends to say the least.

"This year they're over 285 members and that's massive growth from they've been two years ago, where they were sub-200," Hank noted. "Jim has put a massive recruitment effort out there. We also had an anonymous donor that donated new instruments, brand new uniforms…so they have gone from being a marching band that was equipped at the standard to being probably the best equipped marching band in the land and a lot of kids are now interested in that."

Hank stated that the instruments and uniforms won't be the only changes to the band this year. The team started last year to run through a pitchfork, rather than the traditional ‘tunnel', and other related changes are about to take place starting this Saturday during the season opener.

"The way they enter the field will be different," Hank remarked, "they will be a lot louder and they'll obviously be bigger going from 219 to 285…I don't want to let out all the surprises and the cats out of the bag, because we want people to come out to the games and say ‘Wow – that was fantastic!' But there's a lot of great excitement about the band and they will do great things."

Hank mentioned that the halftime show last year in the UCLA game, featuring the acclaimed Tower of Power band, was well-received. As publicized several weeks ago, this year the ASU band will go a step beyond and have for its Thanksgiving Night game against USC Rock ‘n Roll legend Chuck Berry. "It's gonna be an outstanding season," said Hank. "The band opens the season with attribute to ‘The Doors' and you can just tell that Jim has really added a new dimension to the band."

The 2007 marching band is certainly on the rise and Hank points out the importance of the Marching Band in the grand scheme of game day events. "Collegiate bands are what college football is all about," he explained. "It's one the greatest elements of pageantry, and we expect the Sun Devil Marching Band to make the same strides we will make on the football field under Coach Erickson."

Sounds as if the maroon and gold faithful have more reason that ever before to arrive to the games early, and stay in their seats at halftime…

Thanks to Mr. Hudson for proving the band picture for this article

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