Marching Illini showcases talent at Assembly Hall

By Martha Spalding

Instead of marching in formations during halftime, the Marching Illini will perform in a more intimate, sit-down theatrical setting.

As part of homecoming weekend, the Marching Illini will play at Assembly Hall Sunday at 3 p.m.

Thomas Caneva, associate director of bands and associate professor of music, said the purpose of the Marching Illini performing at Assembly Hall is for the community.

“Members of the community can come to hear the band play at a different venue,” he said. “They can be a lot closer to the musicians than at a football game.”

Caneva said the band members also really enjoy performing at Assembly Hall.

“It’s fun for them because it’s different than a football halftime show,” he said. “They can invite their family to see them play.”

Jonny Untch, freshman in FAA, plays the clarinet for the Marching Illini and said all of his family and some of his friends are coming from out of town to see him play.

To prepare for such an important performance, the Marching Illini will have one practice specifically geared toward the Assembly Hall performance.

“I wish we had a little more time for practice,” Caneva said. “We put the performance together the morning of the show.”

Untch said otherwise the group practices for about an hour and 45 minutes everyday until the end of the season.

He said he is really excited for his performance over homecoming weekend because alumni of the band will come back to play with the Marching Illini.

“Everyone is saying how cool the performance is going to be,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

Caneva said more than 200 band alums will return to the University this weekend and performing during the parade and at the football game on Saturday.

Even though Caleb Hall, sophomore in LAS, wasn’t a member of Marching Illini last year, he went to the performance and was impressed with the show.

“It’s a more formal, sit-down concert,” he said. “We sit in concert formation and play traditional songs as well as songs from the half-time shows.”

The Marching Illini won’t do any marching band drills during the concert, but this is what makes the performance at Assembly Hall so unique, said Caneva.

“We’ll perform highlights from the entire season,” he said. “It’s a really great variety of music.”

As a current saxophone player in Marching Illini, Hall said he is excited to be a part of a yearly tradition.

“The performance will be really nice,” Hall said. “You can hear the music better in Assembly Hall compared to a football game. We’ll be showcasing a more musical aspect which is what we’re known for.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Assembly Hall ticket office for $7 in advance, or $9 the day of the show.