The Marching Illini Drumline has become an icon for Fighting Illini Football; the drumline performs at several locations throughout game day and is highly recognizable to all football fans. The Marching Illini Drumline continues to build on its strong history, a tradition of excellence, and its fan base throughout campus and the college marching band world.
A season with the Marching Illini Drumline begins in early spring. Generally, 50 or more percussionists audition for 12 snare, 6 tenor, 7 bass drum, and 12 cymbal spots that are open in the drumline. Evaluated by experienced, dedicated, and talented staff members, the line is not set in its final fashion until the beginning of preseason camp in August. The Marching Illini Drumline stresses progress at all times. Individual improvement, a desire to excel, skill level, and personal professionalism are primary influences when deciding who is offered a position on the line.
Drumline Audition Practice Clinics and Auditions
Students should plan to attend clinics in preparation for the audition date. While it is to the student’s benefit to attend the audition clinics, missing a clinic date due to a serious conflict will not hurt a student’s chance of being selected. Students should make every possible effort to take the audition on the formal audition date. If you are interested in auditioning for the Illini Drumline or attending any of the Audition Practice Clinics, please click HERE
Game days begin at the start of the football season. The Marching Illini rehearses for two hours on game day. During this time the band works on pregame as well as halftime drill and music. One of the most important and anticipated parts of the day for the drumline comes about two hours before game time, when public warm-ups begin. Public warm-ups are a time for the drumline to warm up and get in the right mindset for the day, as well as a time for the public to see the drumline’s full cadence series. While the minutes until kickoff dwindle down, the Marching Illini takes their places for pregame. During the game the drumline as well as the band play in between plays. Halftime allows the Marching Illini to show off their diversity by performing a different show each week, each concluding with the famous Three-In-One. Following the game, the band plays Illinois Loyalty for the fans before marching back to the Education Building where a short concert is performed and the band is dismissed.
Game days are not the only opportunity to see the Marching Illini Drumline. In mid-October, The Marching Illini performs in concert at the Assembly Hall. Also, in mid-to-late October, the Illinois Marching Band Championships brings one of the most exciting days of the season. The drumline sells its merchandise during this all day event, holds public sectional rehearsals, and performs the largest public warm-up of the year for thousands of high school band students, alumni, and potential future members of the University of Illinois Bands. The season often includes a road trip to another Big Ten school, Homecoming performances, and more. Homecoming gives the drumline the opportunity to remember its past traditions, perform with the alumni, and meet some of the people that have given them the opportunity to be a part of such an prestigious organization. The drumline is open to performing at functions outside of school as well. In addition to supporting the many of the Fighting Illini Varsity Sports, the drumline supports local philanthropies and performs for various events throughout the year.
Alumni Drumline Scholarship RECIPIENTS
2015 – Scott Johnston
2014 – Zach Wiltgen
2013 – Ming Fong
2012 – Sarah Lesiecki
2011 – Alek Mann
2010 – Corey Rudner
2009 – Michael Stein
2008 – Joe Mroczek
2007 – Brandon Catt
2006 – Andy Dittrich
2005 – Justin Ahlberg
2004 – No Award Given
2003 – Ben Belzer
2002 – Jeremy McGinnis
Donors to the UI Drumline Scholarship Fund include drumline alumni, friends, and family. If you are interested in giving to this worthwhile scholarship fund, please contact the University of Illinois Band Office. Learn more about the scholarship.