Pride of Wildcatland
THS graduate finds groove in KSU Marching Band as group works to remain intact
It hasn’t been the greatest year for Kansas State University football.
With a 5-7 record, the Wildcats lost any hopes for postseason play and their coach Ron Prince, who will not return for a fourth season after two consecutive losing seasons.
It appeared as though things couldn’t get worse, but then it was announced that the university might just lose its marching band.
This was bad news for Kezia Huseman, a Tonganoxie High School graduate, and now K-State sophomore, who just finished her first year playing the trumpet for the band.
She said that even when the football team wasn’t doing well, people would always come to watch the band.
“It’s hard for us because we are always supportive of our school,” Huseman said “But it’s harder during games when the band is the only one in the stands.”
Plans for funding the band are still in the works, but Huseman, along with Frank Tracz, the university’s director of bands, and other marching band supporters, are confident the money will come in and the band will play on next year.
Huseman’s interest to join the K-State marching band came after the time she spent doing the same at THS.
Her first year in Manhattan, Huseman didn’t join the marching band, but joined the pep band, which plays during Wildcat basketball games.
The band enthusiast said she missed playing in the marching band and was determined to join the band the following fall. She said the college marching band was a bigger part of the school than just the football team.
But joining the college band also meant more work and surviving a weeklong band “boot camp.”
“It’s pretty intense,” Tracz said. “It’s August and it’s hot. We find out pretty quickly who really wants to be in the band. Some of the kids say going through camp is like earning a badge of honor. And if you make it through it, it gets easy after that.”
For seven days Huseman and the other 335 members would work nearly 14-hour days in preparation for the season.
And, once the camp was completed, the group met twice a week for practices — three times if it was a game week in which the band would be performing. Additionally, each section had to meet at least once a week for practice and the entire group would meet six hours before any game.
Huseman said she didn’t mind the time commitments because she is having fun, especially because she found 55 like-minded individuals in the trumpet section.
“I noticed in high school that all of the trumpet players have a certain personality,” she said. “We are all kind of chauvinistic and have big egos. This makes for a lot of fun rivalries between the sections.”
Huseman joked that the brass sections didn’t like the woodwinds and wouldn’t invite them to the trumpet and tuba parties.
Huseman hasn’t decided whether she will be playing in the pep band again this year, but she is certain to return to the marching band. And Tracz will be happy to have her back.
“She’s a good kid and she’s a hard worker,” he said. “She plays well and I think she’s having fun. She’s a quiet kid, but we do have 330 of them so you know if they are not in my office it’s a good thing.”