Best Seat in the House

Reflecting on four grand years in the TCU Marching Band.

Rachel Alenius, TCU band euphonium

Rachel Alenius played the euphonium in the band. She is now a first-year master’s student in biology at TCU.

Best Seat in the House

Reflecting on four grand years in the TCU Marching Band.

The Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2, 2016: In many ways, that game in San Antonio’s Alamodome was the perfect ending to a four-year marching band career. It was the highest highs and lowest lows of TCU football — all in one game. It evolved from incomprehensible disappointment to a legendary comeback: a 47-41 triple-overtime victory over Oregon. To top it off, the band finally got to be underneath the “Fear the Frog” banner normally unfurled over the student section. Elated, many seniors, including myself, began to reflect on our college experience.

Our freshman year began in Amon G. Carter Stadium — in the bathroom. It was August 2012. Everyone was set for the start of the stadium’s inaugural season, except for one thing: The maintenance staff had to make sure the plumbing could handle hypothetically all the toilets being flushed at once. There was only one group of people on campus large enough (and willing) to test it — the TCU Marching Band. We left rehearsal early one afternoon during band camp for a peek inside the brand-new stadium. (I was one of the lucky few who was allowed to see the new suites, just so we could make sure all the toilets there worked too.)

As an incoming freshman, the decision to do marching band had been an easy one. In high school, I was the classic “band geek.” Band had been an enormous chapter in my life, and I wasn’t prepared to close it yet. Ultimately, my desire to participate in college marching band was a major factor in my decision to become a Horned Frog.

What I couldn’t have anticipated was how much the band would shape my college experience, despite the fact I didn’t major in music. I met all my closest friends in the marching band. The best (and worst) moments of college happened alongside fellow band members. From backpacking trips in Utah to late night organic chemistry study sessions, my band mates were there through it all. They are my support network, my dearest friends, my brothers and sisters. Band was much more than a hobby; it was my social outlet, which conveniently guaranteed me a seat at every football game.

I’d be lying if I claimed my love of football didn’t provide incentive too. As band members, we witness all of the greatest moments of TCU football firsthand. It’s hard to appreciate TCU’s 28-21 win against Baylor in the freezing rain if you didn’t witness the heartbreaking 61-58 loss the previous year. All the bowl games, chartered flights, free meals and third-quarter hot dogs made all of the blood, sweat and tears (mostly sweat) worth it. In my opinion, the best seat at a football game is in the middle of the band. You won’t find more enthusiasm or passion anywhere else in the stadium, except maybe next to Gary Patterson.

The marching band is a unique environment, where people of all backgrounds come together for the common purpose of making music. For many of us, it is also an outlet for service. My involvement with the band led me to rush Tau Beta Sigma, a national band service sorority, which allowed me to give back to an organization that gave so much to me.

I could fill an entire novel detailing my experiences with the band. If I could convey one thing, it would be only gratitude. Thank you, TCU Marching Band — for the friends, for the memories and for the greatest four years I could have hoped for. Go Frogs!


It's a bird, it's a drum major, it's ... Super Frog? (photo by Leo Wesson)

It’s a bird, it’s a drum major, it’s … Super Frog? (photo by Leo Wesson)

Your comments are welcome


  1. I loved reading this story . I love my school TCU and I do give back to my school also . With every closing of a TCU Alumi member I give ten percent of my commission to TCU annual fund . That’s what frogs do . I received the Deans Scholorship three weeks before graduating so I could graduate on time with my BSN . I never forgot that someone gave so I could graduate on time . It’s my turn to pay it forward . I’m a realtor with Century 21 Judge Fite we are the official real estate company of the Dallas Cowboys . Go Frogs ! Go Cowboys !! Love me some football

  2. The TCU Marching Band, and particularly all the band staff, shaped my college experience to something I could only dream of. I had experiences that were “once in a lifetime” with my band family. I can’t tell you how it feels to get down on that field and march for such a large crowd. The adrenaline of a performance like that is something you never forget. I bleed purple, donate to the band regularly, come back when I am not busy teaching my own band kids, strongly encourage participation in college marching bands (particularly TCU), and wouldn’t be where I am today without the TCU marching band and my band directors, particularly Brian Youngblood and Bobby Francis. Rachel, who wrote this article, was one of my students at my first job. I was afraid we might lose her to a different school, but I am so glad she got to experience being a part of the life changing TCU marching band! I am so proud of all my ex students who have gone on and continued in college bands, and especially my TCU kids. Stories like Rachel’s gives me more of a drive to encourage my students, even non music majors, to continue their involvement in college bands. Band gives so much to people who give so much. Go Frogs! 🙂

  3. I loved reading this story

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