Changes to Irish Guard emphasize service, musicianship

NOTRE DAME Leaders of the Notre Dame Marching Band have made several changes to the Irish Guard, in an effort to return music and service as integral elements of membership.

The Irish Guard began as a group of bagpipe players in 1949 as a colorful and musical addition to the marching band. Over time, the musical component fell by the wayside.

Effective with the coming academic year, music and service to the band will return as a part of the criteria for guard membership.

To strengthen and emphasize the historic connection of service and musicianship between the Irish Guard and the band, prospective guard members must have at least one year of previous marching band experience as musicians or band managers.

Other criteria will include citizenship, marching ability, attitude, stature and poise.

While there no longer will be a definitive height requirement for guard members, stature, citizenship, band service, attitude and poise will be evaluated as a part of the selection process.

The selection process will include an individual character interview with band staff and leaders and a marching audition.

The Irish Guard inspection on home football game days will also be eliminated in lieu of a photo opportunity for Irish fans and other ambassadorship opportunities.

According to a Notre Dame statement: Irish Guard members will assume coveted leadership roles within the band organization, similar to drum majors or the band president, exemplifying the highest ideals as student representatives of the University.

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