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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024
Drum Major

UW drum major Eva Glisczinski leads a marching band of more than 300 members.

Fourth year of Fifth Quarter: UW-Madison drum major marches on

Saturday saw a record number of rushing yards for Wisconsin, but running onto the field before anyone else and guiding a charge of more than 300 student musicians was Eva Glisczinski, UW-Madison’s marching band drum major.

Drawing on 15 years of baton twirling experience, the UW senior and Milwaukee native has been in the band since her freshman year and now serves as the group’s leader and frontwoman.

Glisczinski, who is originally a trumpet player, said the idea of becoming drum major had always lingered in the back of her mind, but she did not seriously consider auditioning until this summer.

Once she decided to try out for the position, Glisczinski competed against six other band members for two hours, marching, performing a self-choreographed routine and answering interview questions before being named this year’s drum major.

“The marching was difficult, it was hot out, I got pretty tired,” Glisczinski said. “I just pushed through and I was pretty surprised that I made it.”

Glisczinski and her fellow band members devote approximately seven hours a week to marching band practice, with extra rehearsal time added to football gameday weeks.

The workload isn’t easy and requires careful time management, but these are hurdles Glisczinski said she is willing to overcome to maintain the marching band’s legacy of quality performance.

“We want to make everyone who was in it before proud and to keep working hard and put our all into it because it means so much to so many people,” she said. “It’s not just the students who are in it, but also the fans and the alumni.”

Glisczinski noted the band has a long history and the members continue to honor its many traditions, such as wearing their hats backward as they march off the field after a Badger win. This is a ritual stemming from a time when the band’s route passed a children’s hospital and the back-facing hats signaled to kids looking out the windows that the team had won.

The drum major pointed to “On Wisconsin,” a song the band played approximately 50 times before, during and after Saturday’s game, as her favorite, though she expressed appreciation for all of the band’s tunes and cheers.

“I especially love the Fifth Quarter because, win or lose, it’s always a celebration and shows that, at the end of the day, it’s just a game and we can always have fun,” Glisczinski said. “It takes a lot of work, but we love what we do.”

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