When the marching band was last scheduled to travel to Bozeman for the Cat-Griz game in 2017, budget cuts and prioritization of funds affected many departments and resulted in a lack of funding to get the marching band to the football game in Bozeman against the Montana State University Bobcats. Kevin Griggs, the director of the UM Griz Marching Band, said that problem was more of a one-time deal and will not be an issue this year.
“Now that things have settled down, it’s easier to make plans,” Griggs said. “We’ll make sure that the band is there and try to create our atmosphere as much as we can.”
Griggs will be starting his 16th year of directing the marching band and said that was the first time they had ever had such a concern.
“The cuts we had to the marching band I tried to make in a way that would not impact the student experience,” Griggs said. “So that as students came in they still felt like they were getting what they were accustomed to out of membership to the band.”
The marching band only travels for the rivalry game, and if the football team makes it to the national conference. Previously, the funding for band travel came directly from the athletic department. Athletic Department Chair Kent Haslam said athletics, marching band and the President’s Office are now looking to share the costs.
Haslam said it costs approximately $16,000 to cover the cost of the band travel. It covers food and transportation, but it largely covers the expense of seats. He said seats in the stadium for the marching band must be purchased from Montana State University, and the same exchange occurs when MSU visits the Grizzly Stadium.
Despite budget cuts in 2017, Griggs said the marching band was able to travel when an alumna in North Dakota started a GoFundMe that got contributions from all over the community. Some donations came from marching band members and their families, like alto saxophone section leader Lizz Dellinger and drum major Jesse Covarrubias. Both members are seniors who were in the marching band in 2017.
How do they feel about being able to go to the Brawl of the Wild this year?
“I’m freaking pumped,” Dellinger said. “It’s my last year and I want us to win.”
“I’ve always been excited,” Covarrubias said. “I had no doubt they’d figure it out.”