Golden Wave Band displays dedication, endurance through halftime performances

The Courtside Players, part of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band, were out in force for Baylor’s home conference matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners earlier this year. Cole Tompkins | Multimedia Editor

By David Garza | Reporter

The Baylor University Golden Wave Marching Band has performed a variety of shows during football game halftimes throughout the semester – its performances including the Boy Band show, the Queen show and its tribute to the Baylor women’s basketball team.

During the boy band show, the band performed popular music from One Direction, the Jonas Brothers and the Backstreet Boys.

The Queen show, which was held during halftime against Iowa State, featured a bicycle race in which the track was formed on the field by the marching band members. Four of the members, one of which was carrying a tuba, raced while the band played.

For the homecoming football game, the band’s show was a tribute to the women’s basketball team. The band formed two stick figures who passed a band-formed basketball to each other while one of the figures turned into a basketball hoop and the other scored.

Dr. Isaiah Odajima, director of the Golden Wave Band, is the mind behind the performances of the band during halftime. According to Odajima, the ideas for the season are all determined by June, and he is open throughout the semester to input from band members on what the shows for next season should be.

“The shows are decided before the season but are not made public to the band until we know for sure the show will happen,” Odajima said.

Odajima said there may be a period when the band is unable to practice due to weather conditions or scheduling conflicts, which could lead to the originally-planned show being cancelled. The band also does not have a facility in which they can “drill inside,” so their shows are affected heavily by the weather. The Halloween show was “modified up until a week ago because of rehearsal conflicts,” said Odajima.

The shows are also affected by the number of members the band will have for that season and copyright issues that have to do with the music being performed for each show.

According to Fort Worth senior Brandon Johnson, one of the three drum majors, everything in a show is subject to change.

“We don’t like to let people know things unless they’re for sure [going to happen], because why would we let them know, ‘Hey we’re going to do this,’ but then we might not because of logistical reasons,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the idea for the bicycle race in the Queen show was first brought up during a meal with Odajima and the drum majors around March or April.

“We were thinking of doing a Queen show… and we said we should do a bicycle race and have a tube ride a bicycle, but it took a lot of time,” Johnson said.

The band practices Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-6 p.m. Pittsburgh freshman Jessica Stepp is a member of the Golden Wave Band, and has performed with the band for her first semester. She has also been a member in a band for six years before joining Golden Wave Band.

“I’m very passionate about music, and I really love the [band’s] atmosphere. You just feel like a family, and everyone is very accepting,” Stepp said. “The most difficult show of the semester music-wise was the Queen show, while the Boy Band show was the hardest set-wise… it’s really cool to see how the crowd reacts to the intensity of some of [the shows], like the Lady Bear show. I feel so involved in Baylor [because of the band], and it really helped me get that college experience early into college.”

As a biochemistry major, Stepp is part of a large group of Golden Wave Band members who are not music majors. Johnson said that only 18% of band members are music majors.

“Excluding the music education majors who have to be there, the other 82% are making a conscious decision to be there,” Johnson said. “That amazes me because of the amount of work, time, energy, sweat, and in some cases blood, that it takes to be a part of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band. To see that, year after year after year, the heart and soul and the people that are making this program amazing are people that aren’t even majoring in music… it kind of shows you something about how powerful music is.”