Bringing the (Blue) THUNDER!

For you Boise State fanatics, Saturday, Sept 20) was Boise State University’s homecoming football game against Louisiana-Lafayette, aka the Ragin’ Cajuns. Some of you are probably asking, “What does this have to do with Boise’s music scene?”  To join the very first Blue Thunder Alumni Band I was invited. We would perform alongside the current Blue Thunder band. This would be at the homecoming game’s halftime show.

This was an amazing experience for me. I had been having marching band dreams all summer long when I first received the email asking if I would like to dust off my marching and horn playing skills (having almost been 3 years since I last used them) to march on the smurf turf one more time. This was also the first time I got to see the new Blue Thunder Band Director, Joe Tornello and how the marching band was doing under his supervision. Have to say, I am extremely tempted to come back.

Along with myself, the Alumni Band consisted of members from before my time with the band (as far back as its first incarnation) to members who just recently left the group a year or two ago. Which meant meeting and catching up with old friends. It seemed like everyone was just as excited as I was.

What we weren’t expecting though was actually marching onto the field during halftime and performing with the band. Most of us just assumed we would be lining up on the sidelines since it had been at least 2+ years for us (some even more) since we marched last. But it was just like riding a bicycle, it never really leaves you.

Boise State Stadium Marching band
We crowded the Keith and Catherine Stein Band Hall.  The next 2 to 3 hours we spent rehearsing. Others (like high school band directors Cord Breuer and Brittany Brown) have diligently kept up with their practicing. Luckily, we managed to pick it all back up and to me it felt like I was back in the saddle 3 years ago.

The Event

Fast forward to 8pm when kickoff started, we got to sit right next to the marching band right at the north endzone (great view). When the second quarter was minutes away from ending, both bands started heading towards the sidelines to prepare for the show. Blue Thunder took to the field first, performing 80’s Billboard Top medley before the Alumni band joined in on the blue. the hit song Footloose was our first song together. This led into Michael Jackson’s hits, Billie Jean and Thriller. Both bands showed off their dancing skills (or lack thereof) during Thriller (can you believe we learned all three songs, plus 3 more, and the dance in about 2 hours?) and reviewing the video, I have to say it was EPIC!

POST Halftime Show

After the halftime show, those of us who stayed for the entire game just relaxed before the temptation became too strong and we joined in with the marching band to play the cheers and stand tunes (the ones we remembered anyways). We got to play and sing along to Hey Baby and got to do the Stick It In cheer during the game. This truly satisfied the band nerd in me, of course.

Boise State Marching band
That Saturday was definitely one of, if not my favorite night this entire year and after speaking with a few of the alumni members, I bet it was the same for them as well.

Jon Alexander – “There’s nothing better than performing on the blue with Blue Thunder. You always want one more time.”

Jeanette McMillan – “That was totally AWESOMEEEEE! I love Blue Thunder and they sound amazing!”

Now, I asked if I could write this article to show that you can find music in Boise anywhere, and not just at the bars and venues downtown. There are a lot of amazing musicians right under our noses, and the ones that I met that day, definitely earned my respect (getting off soapbox now).

After that night, I think I speak for all of us who managed to attend when I say, “I CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!”

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