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FAQ: The University of Kentucky Band

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Friends,

Earlier this week, our own Matt Jones tweeted a seemingly innocuous comment concerning the University of Kentucky Band which critiqued the organization’s decision to perform a Paula Abdul song. This led, allegedly, to some crankiness from some of the Band’s members. As many of you are no doubt aware, I am a nearly world-famous organizational relationship counselor, and I feel that as a member of the KSR staff, it’s only the right thing to do to step in and do my best to mediate this situation. After all, the sooner we can get past this, the sooner we can all start to grow as individuals from the experience. It is for these reasons, friends, that I present to you Frequently Asked Questions about the University of Kentucky Band. It’s time to start healing.

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What is the University of Kentucky Band?

The University of Kentucky has many organized bands, one of which is the Marching Band, which performs choreographed routines, often at football games, and one of which is the “pep band,” a smaller band enlisted to “pep” up the crowd during basketball and football games. Another major branch consists of the symphony and concert bands, which have lately been more frequently integrated into sporting proceedings after George Frideric Handel’s “Allegro from Concerto in F Major for Organ and Orchestra” was recently featured on Jock Jams Volume 4.

Do they really need all those instruments?

Actually, yes. The combination of the sounds made by each of the various instruments in a band creates a sound known as “harmony.” Until as late as 1981, the University of Kentucky Marching band only consisted of a french horn, a xylophone and a triangle — the only songs it performed at that time were Grover Washington Jr.’s mellow jazz masterpiece “Just the Two of Us” and Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night” — but a significant grant awarded to the school in the spring of 1982 heralded the addition of countless new students and instruments to the organization, infinitely extending the organization’s catalogue.

Who is in charge of the band?

The individual in charge of the band is a man known as “The Band Admiral,” who sits among the musicians, wears a moustache and is decked out in full naval regalia. Once per game, the crowd goes quiet, and at his gestured and ceremonious command, the band plays “We Built This City.” Each year a new Band Admiral is elected from the student body.

What instruments are in the band?

The band features many instruments, notably a section of brass, a section of percussion and a section of woodwinds.

Wood-what? What-winds?

Woodwinds. These are reeded instruments, like the piccolo, bassoon and the oboe.

Those are all hilarious words. What if you’re playing the saxophone and a football hits it? Is that an interference call, or a do-over?

That rarely happens, and even so, the ball would likely be out of bounds and out of play by the time it made contact.

What’s the shiny metal thing that makes the really loud noise?

That’s the trumpet.

No, the bigger one.

Oh. The trombone.

No, even bigger than that.

The tuba?

Yeah yeah. That thing’s crazy, dude.

The average tuba weighs between twenty and twenty-five pounds.

The band should play some song where the flute’s all “teet-teet-too-too-tee” and the bass drum suddenly kicks in like “baaaw baaaw baaaw” and the tuba’s like “braaaaaaap.” That would trip the opposing team out, because they wouldn’t expect it, and also because they would have been lulled in by the flutes.

I’ll make sure to pass that along.

I would like to play in the band, please, but I am forty-seven years old.

That’s okay! If you are a UK alum, you have the opportunity to play in the school’s “Alumni Band,” which often takes over at games which occur during school holidays.

Also, I pawned my clarinet in the 80’s That was a really wild time for me and I was doing a lot of partying. Do you think they would let me borrow one?

You will have to take that up with the Alumni Band Admiral.

I don’t think french horns should be a part of the University of Kentucky Band. This is America. They should be playing American horns.

Actually, the french horn descends from Germany. It’s not French at all.

The University of Kentucky Band needs to either love America or get out.

The french horn has nothing to do with patriotism. And you should be thankful for the band, it is a major part of the culture of college sports, an integral part of the atmosphere of any game.

I’ll give you that; you’re right. But only as long as they just play songs I like.

That’s cold hearted.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin