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Tiger band shares thoughts, memories on heading to 2020 National Championship Game

Countdown to the Championship

CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – There are more than 350 members of Clemson University’s Tiger Band.

Several members and the Assistant Band Director shared their thoughts on why, outside of the actual game, band is the very best part of college football games.

James Ables has been with the band for five years. He’s been a die hard Clemson band fan since childhood.

“I remember being four or five and my grandma would throw me in the car. We’d just sit outside of Death Valley during a night game and hear the band. We’d hear the crowd. So, it’s always kind of been a goal for me to at least end up here,” Ables said.

Stephanie Linke has been with the band for four years. She transitioned from clarinet during her freshman year to drum major for the last three years.

“I honestly have loved this experience like more than everything. Being there for, I mean, I’ve only experienced two losses in my time here–I’m pretty sure,” Linke said.

Mellphone player Emma Berry has also been with the band for four years. She echoed Linke’s enthusiasm about the band- especially on game day.

“My favorite part during the game is pregame. No matter where we are, whenever we get to do that, it’s my favorite part. We just love running on the field, just running out there, you get to see all of the fans. It’s amazing,” Berry said.

Band commander and sousaphone player Graham Jackson explained how band is the best place for all college football.

“Tiger band is really cool because we get to: A. make music B. watch really good football and travel all over the place. The best part of band is just all the people I get to do it with,” Jackson said.

Assistant Band Director Tim Hulburt has been with the band for 12 years. He said being able to take the band all around the country for different games is one of the true highlights for him.

“We get to the end of the year and Dr. Spede and I always talk to each other about how these shows are always, these are the best shows we’ve ever done. We seem to say that every single year,” Hulburt said.

“It’s exciting going to the national championship,” Berry said. “This is the third one that I’ll be going to. So, that’s also exciting. But, it’s a new adventure every single time.”

Ables has been a percussionist, currently on base drum, for the last five years. He noted the band sometimes can help the team.

“We’ve seen it. We’re playing something loud and its third down and the opposing team jumps off sides or something because we’re able to get into their head or psych them out a little bit. That’s cool,” Ables said.

The Tiger Band left for New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 10.

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