Editor's note: Brighton McConnell is a senior drumline player in the Marching Tar Heels.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Band Beat!
I’m Brighton, and I’m excited to be continuing this great column for the 2018-2019 year. My coverage will center around one group: the University of North Carolina Marching Tar Heels. Over 300 of the most passionate and talented students in the ACC will be on the field and in the stands this fall, playing fight songs and marching upbeat halftime shows.
We’re like most college kids. We love going to games and cheering on our Tar Heel teams. We just get guaranteed seats and travel to away games on charter buses instead of carpooling. Some may view us as ‘deluxe fans’, but it’s all thanks to tons of hard work throughout each season. We learn dozens of songs, drill at least four halftime shows, and perform at all types of events. Our rewards are attending great games and having fun, but the ultimate purpose is bringing out UNC fans’ school spirit.
My goal is to share this unique student perspective with you. Although I question my odds of chronicling a national championship run this year like my predecessor (lucky Bryce), I hope to provide glimpses into the experience of college band students as we navigate game day performances, roles in our Chapel Hill community, and lives outside of band. The ‘Go Where You Go’ guide will continue ahead of each home football game, and you can expect coverage of the band’s away-game travels and service efforts too.
There are three things you must know that I love dearly: playing music, following sports, and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Raised a UNC fan, I remember memorizing rosters and printing out team schedules as young as six years old. Western North Carolina might be my home, but Chapel Hill’s special place in my heart continued growing over the last three years. A large part is due to the Marching Tar Heels and I’m ecstatic to share our perspective and incredible stories with readers through my final year.
The first halftime show of the year won’t happen until September 15 when Carolina hosts UCF, but be on the lookout for the band at other athletic events before then! Chances are, you’ll hear us before you see us.