Chippewa marching band practices own homecoming traditions

Gregory Cornwell | Staff Photographer The Marching Chips join in movement Saturday afternoon against New Hampshire at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

“Do you know Brenda?”

It’s a common phrase chalked around campus in random places: Next to the library, outside the music building and on the pillars between Brooks and Dow halls.

Many students are confused by the phrase written across campus during homecoming week, but it makes perfect sense to the tenor saxophones in the Chippewa Marching Band.

"The gods," as they’re know in the band, have upheld the tradition for years of sprawling the words across campus each homecoming week. The real reason behind the four-word phrase is kept secret and is only told to "gods."

Some say DYKB is a memorial to a former god who died. Others speculate it’s a hoax to confuse the campus. Even if you try to coax the answer out of a god, they will not budge.

The marching band is full of traditions, not just for homecoming, but throughout the entire year. Homecoming is especially significant, though, because it brings former band members together with current ones to share the field and the memories.

“Being a part of homecoming makes me proud to be a Chippewa,” said Royal Oak senior and member of the color guard Sara Enochs. “Even though I have to wake up when everyone goes to sleep, I get such a rush of energy by being part of an amazing group of people in the Chippewa Marching Band and holding the Chippewa spirit close to my heart.”

Traditions vary by section in the band. Some have interlaced traditions like the lovingly named “Bone the Guard,” where the color guard and trombone section play each other in a Twister tournament for bragging rights.

The color guard has its own traditions, as well.

Breaking into the stadium at 3 a.m. on homecoming morning to practice on the sometimes frost-covered turf of Kelly/Shorts Stadium’s football field in the freezing cold has been a staple of the marching band's homecoming traditions.

The trombone section practices “Bone-coming.” They have scavenger hunts and are out all night before the game. The section runs on caffeine and school spirit for the parade, show and game.

Traditions have been important throughout the 92 years of the Chippewa Marching Band. While some traditions such as hazing, hissing at rookies and other such practices have gone away, they have been replaced by alternative traditions like meowing instead.

Former marching Chips come home to Saunders Field and Kelly/Shorts Stadium because of the traditions that have been around for decades.

“It’s really special on game day seeing alumni of all ages showing up for the morning practice,” said Clarkston senior and section leader of the clarinets Justin Orminski.

The section leader has marched with the band for four years and has seen people come and go for homecoming games.

“Some are people you marched with, some are much older and had a much different experience in the band,” he said. “But for one day, it makes marching band a timeless experience.”


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