While the Ball State community prepares for this weekend's Homecoming festivities, over 200 students in the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band have been working toward it for months. 

“Our Saturday starts well before our 9:45 a.m. parade step-off,” said Vanessa Ramos, saxophone section leader. 

Throughout the semester, the band meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on LaFollette Field to run through songs and practice walking in formation. During the practices, they prepare for upcoming events and performances, including the Homecoming parade. 

On Oct. 21, the band will march in the two-mile parade playing the Fight Song alongside floats, cars and horses. In the past, those in the parade have had to perform in various weather extremes such as rain, heat and cold. 

The parade begins at Muncie Central High School, and once it has concluded the band must attend another practice before the football game at 3 p.m., where they must always be ready to perform.  

While the demanding schedule leaves little time for other homecoming activities, Sarah Wagner, a clarinet section leader, said playing for the students and alumni in the atmosphere provided by homecoming is exciting.

“It’s nice to see a crowd in Scheumann Stadium,” Ramos said. “When others are invested in the game, it makes it more enjoyable to play, dance and cheer in the stands.”

Contact Matt Keyser with comments at mdkeyser@bsu.edu.