UNI Marching Band largest in school's history - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI Marching Band largest in school's history

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Panthers at the University of Northern Iowa are making history this year, as the marching band is the largest it's ever been. There are currently 330 band members.

While that's good news for both the school and band members, it comes with certain challenges and implications. As the band grows in size, more money must be spent.

Molly Fewell is a senior at UNI and has been part of the marching band for four years now.

"A friend of mine was like we're going to break 300 some day, and I was like no, that will never happen. But we've completely blown past that mark," Fewell said.

Band Director Danny Galyen said one of the largest expenses is the week-long band camp before the school year begins. This year, the band camp cost roughly $50,000 for the 330 members.

Galyen said away games are also more expensive with a larger band. The group now must use six charter buses, as opposed to three, to travel to away games, and it costs $1,000 to rent just one charter bus. Space can also be cramped when the band arrives at other stadiums.

"We've never taken a band this big to Iowa, and so we had a difficult time squeezing them into the seats that were reserved for the band," Galyen said.

Cramped for space is starting to be an issue at the UNI Dome as well. The student section just barely fits the current band, but Galyen said space is tight. He also said storage areas are beginning to overflow in the Dome, where instruments are held.

In terms of uniforms, the UNI marching band barely has enough this year. There are roughly 25 extra uniforms, but if the band grows even slightly in size next year, Galyen said the band will need to purchase more uniforms and instruments.

UNI President Bill Rudd said funding for the UNI marching band comes from both the university and fundraising. Ruud said the school is always looking for additional ways to fund the band, and it will remain a top priority for UNI.

Galyen said there is no cost to students to be a part of the band; the school covers costs like uniforms and away game trips. The only costs to students are optional band trips.

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