225 Magazine – Q&A with Garrett Ellison, Tiger Band trumpeter
This story was originally posted on 225 Magazine on October 31, 2012.
By Matthew Jacobs
During the 1930s, the LSU marching band was nicknamed “The Show Band of the South” thanks to its rousing halftime performances, and the name is even more fitting today. That is just one part of a colorful history that has made the university’s marching band a staple of the LSU football experience. A rigorous practice schedule readies these talented musicians who serenade and amplify Tiger Stadium for LSU’s famous cheers. Senior Garrett Ellison talks with 225 about what it’s like to play his part in such a regal group.
What’s an average game day like for you and the band?
We have to show up pretty early. Normally, if it’s a 7 p.m. game, we have to show up around noon. We have practice in the indoor football field, and we’ll have that for maybe two and a half or three hours. And then after that, what we do is we go back to the Band Hall, and they normally have a meal catered for us, and we eat. We normally march down the hill a couple of hours before the game. So around 5 p.m. we’ll line up and get ready to march.
How is the music that Tiger Band plays selected?
It’s kind of hard to come up with Tiger Band songs that we play, because everyone has to like it. So we have to choose something that’s not really new and current, because then the older crowd will turn their nose up at it. But we can’t pick stuff that’s too old, because then the student section won’t like it.
Is there ever a song that you get tired of playing?
“Hey, Fighting Tigers” is like that, even though we still love it every time we play it. It’s because that’s the song that we loop and play again and again at a parade or that we play while we march across the field at the end of halftime. But it’s become a running joke in Tiger Band.
Is your hearing ever affected by being around so many loud instruments?
There have been occasions. Sometimes my ears are ringing after a game or sometimes I have a headache, but that’s not too big of a deal, and I’m kind of used to that. If you do marching band through high school, even though Tiger Band’s sound is exponentially louder, you get used to it.