Strike Up the Badger Band!

Wisconsin fans old enough to remember Badger football prior to Barry Alvarez know often the best parts of the game involved the Badger Band.

It's still a special part and adds great flavor and ambiance to a B1G game.

Different sections of the band find their way into the stands to play "On Wisconsin,"  like here in row 59 of Section I.

They look like they're having fun.

I have no idea when their day starts, but there was a pep rally at the Badger Bash tailgate 90 minutes before the game.  Pre-game music on the field 15 minutes before the game.  The anthem. A 10 minute halftime show.  15 minute 5th Quarter and then a 6th Quarter post-game party.

"Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," "On Wisconsin," and "When You saw Wis-con-sin" must be pulsing through the heads of band members for hours after the final whistle blows.

Each band has a trademark, and I'd say Wisconsin's is the measured march with a pause of the foot at the top of each step.

Their marches apply the style at different cadences depending on the tune.  Watching the whole band march in unison is pretty amazing.

College marching bands are an athletic adventure all their own.  There's training camp, frequent practice individually and with the group, and performances with high expectations.

The 5th Quarter attracted attention in the lean years of the football program, in 1977.  It was more than another playing of the same songs - it was synchronized mayhem.

I recall watching some members of the trumpet section throwing a Nerf football around while others played their instruments.

Some played while laying on the field.  Others stood on their heads and played.

Last spring, I was able to see the Band on a stage of their own and it was impressive and fun.

College bands have very protective fans.  Ohio State, Florida A&M, Purdue, and others like to claim theirs is the best band in the land.

There is something special about the sound of a good marching band.

The drum beat, the oom-pa of the Tuba, the charging sound from a line of trumpets ignites the tiny embers of school spirit.

The high school and college football seasons are rapidly coming to a close, but it's not too late to find a field, a team, and a band near you.

Whether it's D-III, D-I, or high school - you owe it to yourself to soak up the sounds of autumn.