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December 19, 2023

Marching From Ames High to Iowa State

Iowa state students in marching band uniforms

Ten Ames High graduates and current members of the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band (ISUCF’V’MB) will travel to the 65th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, where the Cyclones will meet the Memphis Tigers on December 29 at 2:30 p.m Ames time. A trio of Ames High graduates shared their respective journeys and memorable moments in music.

First is a fifth-year Electrical Engineering major (minors in Computer Science and Economics) and a guide to the first trumpets, Andrew Sailer (Class of 2019). An Ames High football game in 2017, a 56-33 victory over Iowa City High, had a special halftime guest, which solidified his interest in marching collegiately.

“I knew I wanted to be part of the Cyclone Marching Band after seeing them perform at a football game during my junior year in high school,” Sailer shares. “Seeing other Ames High grads participating in the marching band encouraged me to audition when I went to Iowa State.”

At Ames High, Sailer participated in marching, jazz, and concert bands. To this day, Sailer is glad for the reprieve that playing the trumpet and being around fellow musicians brings.

“My most fond memories include listening to Mr. Buttermore’s stories in Symphonic Band, traveling for Jazz Band performances, and of course the Marching Band trip down to Disney World in Orlando!,” Sailer said. “Retaining my connection to the trumpet and fine arts in general has been extremely valuable to me. Most if not all of my coursework is STEM related, and going to band rehearsal at the end of the day provides the mental relief I need to reset and continue on with college.”

Playing in college has also helped Sailer find connections with his peers at Iowa State, musicians or not.

“The Cyclone Marching Band has entrenched me in Iowa State traditions and history as well as introduced me to many of my closest friends here at Iowa State,” he said. “Going to athletics events and occasional College of Ag or College of LAS gig on-campus makes me feel like a contributor to culture and tradition at Iowa State University. Additionally, being on the trumpet leadership team further connects me to Iowa State by allowing me to connect to students with different majors and different ages.”

As a student musician with the ISUCF’V’MB, men’s basketball pep band, volleyball pep band, and Cyclone Sound, Sailer has had the opportunity to go around the nation, which he is very proud of.

“I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to various high schools across Iowa, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City (Missouri), Lawrence, Manhattan (Kansas), Greensboro, New York City, Orlando, Memphis, and wherever the NCAA March Madness Tournament takes us (knock on wood),” he said. “I’ve also been present for two College GameDay Broadcasts in Ames, and on ABC with The View! Saying yes to opportunities when they present themselves, working hard to be part of exclusive ensembles, and a little luck have all served me well in the ISUCFVMB. I will be forever grateful to the band and a life-long Cyclone!”

Evan Uhlmeyer, another Ames High graduate from the class of 2019, is a sousaphone in the Cyclone Marching Band. Uhlmeyer is a self-proclaimed super senior who has a major in computer engineering.

“I was a member of the Ames High marching band, and I knew that I wanted to do marching band in college, but I didn’t know that it would be with Iowa State, and I’m extremely happy I chose to go to ISU and be a part of the ISUCF’V’MB!,” Uhlmeyer said. “When I was in high school, I was always either doing schoolwork, theater, or music. Some of my favorite memories came from being in the jazz band at Ames High. Traveling for jazz band was always a blast and I was surrounded by some of my best friends, who I still make music with to this day.”

Being part of the marching band has helped Uhlmeyer and countless other members of the ISUCF’V’MB forge friendships and create connections.

“Band at ISU is basically my whole life outside of classes, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” states Uhlmeyer. “If you’re a member of the band, the first day you walk onto campus for classes, you’ve already got countless friends from bandcamp.”

Ames High class of 2021 graduate Oscar Lenkaitis is the only woodwind in this article, as he plays the clarinet, along with 27 others in the Varsity band. During his music career, he has made several memories.

“I never thought I would be doing college marching band as a high schooler. I only did marching band for my first two years at Ames High and spent much more time focused on concert band,” Lenkaitis said.

“Some of my favorite memories include my freshman year band trip down to Disney World, where we marched through Magic Kingdom and then played and recorded Disney Music, and going out at night for ice cream and food after band concerts and baseball games with my classmates and teammates,” he adds.

Lenkaitis’s major is computer science, and he is minoring in German. Much like Sailer and Uhlmeyer, Lenkaitis has made connections in something much more than an extracurricular, but a way of student life. 

“Being a part of the Pride of Iowa State gave me 30 people to meet and connect with in the clarinet section before my freshman year of college had officially started,” Lenkaitis said. “It is easy to make friends in the other sections when I get to see them for 2 hours every day in the fall. When I am passing through music hall or just walking through campus I am always waving hi or stopping to talk with the people I see from marching band.”

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Other Ames High graduates that are part of the ISUCF’V’MB include: William Brumm (2019), Peter Jaynes (2019), Nick Sulzberger (2019), Zac Mueterthies (2020), Carter Peterson (2022), Daniel Brumm (2022), and David Hauber (2023).

The ISUCF’V’MB is one of five Division I Colleges selected as finalists for Metallica’s Marching Band Competition! There’s still time to vote for the Cyclone Marching Band as the Fan Favorite by texting #UIOWASTATE to (833) 609-0330.