About 20 former marching band members — from the class of 1949 to present-day — gathered at Homecoming for the first marching band reunion in about 20 years. They brought their French horns, piccolos, trumpets and clarinets to rehearse the fight song on Saturday morning before performing in the stands during the game.
"We develop very strong friendships, and a lot of folks stay in touch with each other," said trombonist Nick Ricco Jr. ('77), who organized the reunion. "Marching band creates a very strong bond among its members. You spend six hours a day with them. You travel to games on a hot, sweaty, stinky bus with them and go on band tours with them."
Longtime alumni were represented by the Wood family, including saxophonist Clarence "Woody" Wood, who attended North Texas from 1946 to 1949 and played in the first lab band. Now a musical instrument repairman, he was joined by his wife, clarinetist Mary Wood ('52), and daughter, piccolo player Christie Wood ('78).
"It's pretty amazing to see the lineage and to see the tradition personified in front of you," said Nick Williams ('97, '04 M.M.), current director of the marching band who is also working on a doctor of musical arts degree.
"It's wonderful," said Katie Corbett ('05), a piccolo player who teaches band at Hendrick Middle School in Plano. "I can't wait to hear the marching band again. I'm excited to get back and hear the progress they've made in the last couple of years."
Jim Hansford ('72 M.M.Ed., '82 Ph.D.), who led the marching band in 1974, returned to campus to conduct the Saturday morning rehearsal of the fight song.
"I didn't remember the fight song until I heard it, and then, bam, it's there," said Hansford, now director of bands at Oklahoma Baptist University. The band ran through the fight song a handful of times, but the piece didn't need much work, he said.
"This is a group of fine players," Hansford said. "This school attracts the top players in the country. There's no doubt about it."