The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Over 100 WSU Alumni to perform during halftime show of Northern Colorado game

From the class of ’69 to ’23, Cougs reunite for performance
The Cougar Marching Band’s saxophone section practicing on Aug. 22, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU’s Cougar Alumni Band’s annual performance is returning and the group will be performing during the Sept. 16 Cougar football game halftime show, despite the difficulties in finding housing for the historically large group and holding the first rehearsal the day before the performance.

Rick Flores, Cougar Alumni Band Association president, said this year’s performance will be different than previous years in part because it will not be during homecoming, as previous years have been.

“What that has looked like historically was we march the fight song down the field in pregame in front of the Cougar Marching Band and then play in the stands with them. This year we’re doing alumni band day as a completely separate day,” Flores said. “We’re performing halftime with the Cougar Marching Band while still getting to play in the stands … We have alumni coming from class of 1969 to class of 2023.”

Flores said they chose a non-conference game to play so there would be less attendance from crowds coming to see the game and more free space for the alumni band.

“We’re celebrating 100 years of bands at WSU. We’re going to be playing four songs. We’re going to be doing a song that was written 100 years ago. A song that was written 50 years ago. We’re also playing the WSU fight song. We’re going to end the halftime with the ‘Washington my Washington’ with former Cougar Marching Band director Don Howard.”

The CAB was founded in 1978, Flores said. Flores has been involved with the Cougar Alumni Band Association since 2019, when he joined the board as vice president as the board was looking for younger alumni to be involved in leadership positions.

“I became president fall of 2021, so I’m finishing out my second year,” Flores said.

Members usually join the CAB through either the Cougar Marching Band Alumni Facebook group, which has over 800 members, or through their email list available to sign up for on their website Flores said.

Usually, the alumni band has about 30–45 participants during homecoming, Flores said. This year, there are over 110 people signed up. He said one reason he believes this to be the case is the excitement of hiring a new CMB director, Jon Sweet.

“Also there was a bigger draw because it wasn’t attached to homecoming,” he said. “People can still find hotels and Airbnbs.

However, there are some challenges with having a larger group, Flores said. One of them being it is harder to find housing for the entire band.

“We have folks who are going to stay in Spokane or Lewiston the night before,” he said. “We’re trying to organize carpools, that’s hard. Trying to figure out who’s renting a hotel room and is willing to share, who lives in Pullman and is willing to let folks crash in their house or pitch a tent in their backyard, it’s getting real creative with a lot of that.”

It takes about six months to prepare for the band’s performance, he said. The preparations begin once the football schedule is released, usually around April, and from that point, performers can begin to sign up.

Sarah Miller, athletic bands associate director, said the CMB will be performing alongside the CAB. At the moment, CMB is mostly preparing for the first football game of the season.

“We have a lot to learn because you have to learn all the pregame show and all the stands tunes and all the halftime show,” Miller said. “Right now we’re trying to learn all the music and eventually the drill, which is the formations on the field, when we get the weather back.”

Miller said current WSU students will be working all week for the alumni band performance, although the CAB members won’t be arriving until Sep. 15 for that night’s rehearsal. In total, there will be about 330 people performing.

“We have more people on the field. It’s a little different in that way of making formations with people missing until the last minute,” Miller said. “It’s a little different with people in that respect but a lot of the process is pretty similar.”

Flores said he thinks going forward halftime performances from the alumni band will probably be every odd-numbered year. During even-numbered years, the band will just play in the stands with the CMB. At the moment, CAB is still accepting perspective performers.

“They can go to and find a link to our Facebook group to join us and get information, sign up to take part in this historic halftime show. The CAB is open to any WSU alumni. You don’t have to have marched in the CMB. The biggest thing our bylaws say is you have to be a fan of WSU and love music to be a member,” he said.

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About the Contributors
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.
MATTHEW RAGSDALE, Evergreen photographer
Matthew Ragsdale is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. They are a senior Biology major. Matthew started working for the Daily Evergreen in Summer of 2023.