Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 52 of 55 SEPT. 10, 2022 53 Concert on the Steps was a well-estab- lished tradition. "At the time, the entire band had about 100 members, so the concert was performed on the front porch and steps of the Main Building," Dwyer said. "As the band grew over the years, it eventu- ally moved to Bond Hall, where it is still performed today." Crazed parents of band members stake out "front row seats" hours before the performance. Great anticipation builds, until the dulcet tones of long- time band announcer Jon "JT" Thomp- son welcomes the thousands who pack the acres in front of Bond Hall. "Led by the Irish Guard, the Band does its unique hike-step drill to Hike, Notre Dame …" The Irish Guard performs perhaps its most important role on the march to the Stadium, literally guarding the Band and clearing the way for its procession past thousands of fans crammed six or more deep along the route. A parade of another sort is a can't- miss for many fans. The player walk, which brings the team in full view with the Word of Life "Touchdown Jesus" mural providing the backdrop, cements the connection between team and fan base leading up to game time. For many alums and fans, the festivi- ties begin Thursday or Friday. There are gatherings for the various giving societ- ies and other groups. Alums like Tony Zupcic ('70), who comes from cen- tral New Jersey, may invite hometown friends to join him, or simply reconnect with Notre Dame classmates once on campus. From Friday Band practice on through the weekend, there is no lack of activities. "The key to a football weekend at ND is not to overdo it by trying to do too much," Zupcic said. "We try to enjoy a number of different things each trip and still find some time to just relax and take in the overall experience." Traditions. Friendships. Community. In the end, it's what matters most. ✦ Jim Lefebvre is an award-winning Notre Dame author and leads the Knute Rockne Memorial Society. He can be reached at: For more informa on, please visit: The Knute Rockne Memorial Society is dedicated to preserving and promo ng the life story of Coach Knute Rockne and all he stood for. Through its annual Rockne Awards, the Rockne Society recognizes and inspires great achievement in athle cs…and in life. The pregame player walk to Notre Dame Stadium, which brings the Fighting Irish team in full view with the Word of Life "Touchdown Jesus" mural providing the backdrop, cements the connection between team and fan base lead- ing up to game time. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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