Loyola students perform at the Cotton Bowl


Photo courtesy of Makayla Lockhart

Loyola music education sophomore Taylor Mennenga plays the marimba in the Tulane University Marching Band at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX on Jan. 2, 2023. The Green Wave defeated the USC Trojans 46-45 for their 12th victory of the season.

Alana Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor

Loyola students participated in this year’s Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic playing music instead of football.

On Jan. 2, Loyola band members accompanied the Tulane University Marching Band as the Green Wave faced the University of Southern California Trojans at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The experience was “magical,” said senior trumpeter Cael Meilleur.

Meilleur is a Loyola student who joined the Tulane University Marching Band two years ago looking for a “band family” and the camaraderie that came along with it. He said he played with the band on Saturdays at Yulman Stadium, but performing at the Cotton Bowl was incredible, especially considering how well the team performed compared to previous years.

“The energy was there in the fans, students, and in the band,” Meilleur said. “I don’t think many people are going to get a similar opportunity this soon. I think it’s a once in a lifetime deal especially for me since this is my last year.”

The bowl performance also resonated with jazz studies sophomore saxophonist Willa Rudnick. Joining the marching band in pursuit of the opportunities that came along with it, conceptualizing herself performing in the Cotton Bowl was something she said she couldn’t imagine before.

“It was pretty insane, I don’t think any of it really has sunk in even now because I’ve just been like ‘oh yeah, it’s just the marching band.’” Rudnick said. “The stadium is so big and having the experience [of] being able to play for all of those people was really, really cool.”

To prepare for their halftime performance, the band arrived in Dallas days before the Cotton Bowl, which was a seven hour bus ride, according to Rudnick.

Due to time passing since the last time they rehearsed, Meilleur said the band used that time to freshen up their drills.

To cap off their Cotton Bowl experience, the Green Wave upset the University of Southern California Trojans 46-45 by scoring the game winning touchdown with 10 seconds left to earn their 12th win of the season.