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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Heart and soul of Notre Dame

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) – We all know a home game at the stadium wouldn’t be the complete without the Band of the Fighting Irish. This season they’re celebrating their 173rd year.

Every single home game they are out all morning pumping up the 80,000 plus people that make their way to the big game, keeping both the team and fans in positive spirits.

“It’s a lot of work but we love every moment of it,” senior trombone section leader Jordan Lada said. “I love the fans, I love the students in this university. I just want to be part of this game day experience.”

You can catch them every week on the steps of Bond Hall where they give a taste of the halftime show.

“You go to other bands it’s competitive, you have to fight for your spot every week to just march,” Lada said. “Here we want everyone marching day in, day out. I love it, it’s a family.”

A family inclusive of other schools. Students at both Holy Cross College and St. Mary’s College can audition and join the band.

“The band is the reason I went to St. Mary’s because it’s a small, women’s college and I thought that’d be perfect for me,” said senior trombone section leader Ellen Johnson. “Small class size, but I really wanted to do marching band. Most small colleges don’t have marching band so I was really excited to get the small classroom size, but also the big marching band.”

Standing at about 380 strong, members enjoy having other students in the community.

“They’re a part of this band,” Lada said. “We love them. It’s like they’re at Notre Dame themselves.”

All members spend countless hours to putting on a new halftime show each week.

“Our band stands up the whole game, then they perform at halftime then they stand up the rest of the game and then they perform after the game,” said director of bands Dr. Ken Dye. “They’re the hardest working band, they perform on every timeout and they never give up.”

They perfect their craft for everyone at the game and watching from home.

“It’s overwhelming in the most wonderful way,” said Johnson. “It’s so cool to hear everyone cheering and singing along to the songs.”

“I don’t know if you can describe that feeling,” Lada said. “It’s joy, it’s just pure joy, there’s nothing like it.”

The band started three years after the university was founded. They’re the oldest band in the country.

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