The college bowl season wrapped up Monday with the BCS National Championship Game, but a trio of Saint Viator band graduates are still brimming with excitement after having played in their own first bowl games.
Jordan Tully of Hanover Park, a 2013 Saint Viator graduate, plays the mellophone, or the marching version of the French horn, in the Tulane University Marching Band.
He appeared with The Green Wave when they played in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl last month against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Tully was the first chair in the French horn section of the Saint Viator symphonic band, but he also played lead trumpet in its jazz band. His love of jazz music, in part, took him to Tulane, located in the heart of New Orleans,the birthplace of jazz.
"It's just a big party, in the party city, which makes it that much more fun," Jordan said.
Maureen Daday of Arlington Heights is a freshman at St. Mary's College and one of 40 Belles who play in the 380-member University of Notre Dame Marching Band.
They spent the weekend after Christmas in New York City, where the Irish played the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Like her former classmate, Daday plays the mellophone in the Notre Dame band, after playing flute and French horn in the Saint Viator symphonic band.
"I'm excited," Daday said before leaving. "It's amazing that we get to go to New York and play at Yankee Stadium. How many people can say that?"
Rounding out the bowl-bound group was Jonathon Schening of Arlington Heights. The 2012 Saint Viator graduate plays the B flat clarinet in the University of Miami Marching Band, where he is majoring in biomedical engineering.
The Hurricanes faced the University of Louisville last month in the Russell Athletic Bowl at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. While it was the 'Canes' 35th bowl appearance, it was their first since 2010.
Schening, like his classmates, played clarinet in Saint Viator's symphonic band, but he had never marched before going out last year for Miami's Band of the Hour.
"Learning to march was one thing," Schening says, "but learning to march and play, that was another. It was difficult and I had to learn the glide stepping style the band uses."
Schening says he felt prepared and grounded in solid fundamental technique after his four years at Saint Viator, but being able to be part of the game day experience at Miami every week has taken his musicianship to a whole new level.
"It's been a blast," Schening says. "Being in the band, we try to bring energy to the stands and give it that home-field advantage."
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