Sunday, March 22, 2009

Along for the Ride

What is the biggest perk of playing trumpet at Michigan State? It might just be the events of this week, where instead of classes on campus, your schedule includes shopping at the Mall of America and a great dinner at Hell's Kitchen.

29 members of the Spartan Brass left campus late Wednesday with their director, John T. Madden and the rest of the MSU delegation to get to Minneapolis for MSU basketball's win Friday over Robert Morris and their game today against USC. For the team, Thursday includes practice and preparing for the game. For the band, Thursday was a trip to the Mall of America to shop and ride the roller coasters. Each member was given $120 for food and expenses to last through Saturday morning. They were given another $80 because of the MSU win, to last through the game today.

Preparations for the trip started long before Selection Sunday told MSU they were heading to Minneapolis. Anna Robinson, a Senior trumpet player, had been through this before. "If you wait, you will only have one or two days to talk to your professors. I went up a month ago and let them know. I have three exams next week, and (if MSU wins) would either have to make them up or have a proctor. It's amazing to have professors understand and work with you to allow you to go."

While Thursday was a day for sightseeing, Friday was more about business. Band members mostly stayed close to their downtown hotel, getting ready for the MSU pep rally and that night's game. "Normally we get there at halftime of the previous game, but (Friday) one of the cheerleaders forgot her pom poms, so we were seven or eight minutes late," said Robinson. "We then set up quietly during timeouts of the game before, to not disturb anyone."

The win Friday meant that Saturday would be another off day in Minneapolis.

According to Madden, Saturday for most members would include catching up on homework, taking any tests (where he might have to serve as a proctor), sightseeing, or watching MSU at their free open practice. Saturday night for Madden included a trip to see the Minnesota Orchestra concert.

Robinson said that her Saturday would include studying for those tests next week. "Today is a study day. Some people went to explore the University of Minnesota campus. I might go out tonight."

Win or lose, the band will return to campus immediately after today's game. Bags will be packed and loaded up before they even go to the arena. Then it is a straight trip to the airport for their flight back to Lansing. If MSU wins, the members can look forward to doing this all again next week, in Indianapolis.

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