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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Alumni Drumline brings back the beat

Deborah Kruse
Bob Kruse with the University of Arizona Alumni Drumline in 2009.

The University of Arizona Alumni Drumline will perform in this year’s annual Homecoming Parade on Saturday, Oct. 28.

The drumline is an assembly of UA drumline alumni who walk in the parade every year. The drumline also takes part in the football game’s halftime performance with the current UA band, the Pride of Arizona.

Bob Kruse, a member of the Alumni Drumline, was recruited to join the Pride of Arizona drumline when he was a freshman in 1968.

“I was actually pretty burnt out with music from high school because I had played in all-state band and a rock and roll band and a bunch of other things, but I got an invitation from Jack Lee, the director, [who] is the guy that wrote ‘Bear Down Arizona,’ and he invited me to audition.”

Although he graduated in 1972, Kruse was a member of the drumline from 1968 to 1970. He said it was difficult to balance his work as a mechanical engineering major as well as a band schedule, and therefore did not stay in the band for his whole college experience. 

However, Kruse is still grateful for the time he spent with the UA band; he even met his first wife while in the UA band. 

“It was a life-changing thing to join the band,” Kruse said.

Kruse is not only a member of the Alumni Drumline, but also the UA Alumni Band. The band has performed at tailgates for home games, alumni club events and other campus occasions, whereas the drumline only performs during Homecoming.

           RELATED: Q&A: UA President Robbins on his first Homecoming as a Wildcat 

The Alumni Drumline does not even need to practice for their performances during Homecoming. Many of the members already know the songs that have been performed from their participation in the UA band during their time at the university. The songs that the drumline usually performs include “Bear Down,” “Fight Wildcats Fight” and “Here Comes the Band.” 

Deborah K. Kruse, Bob’s wife, helps out with the alumni band whenever she can. Bob said that in past years, his wife has held the banner during the Homecoming Parade and helped out band members by holding their sheet music when they perform.

“Mostly I just show up and see what needs to be done; sometimes I’m one of the people who begs for tips because I’m a teacher and I have a loud voice and I can be persuasive,” Deborah said with a laugh. 

Bob said he and his wife also bring breakfast for the current UA band and members of the alumni band if the parade is early. However, this year, the game will not be until later in the day, so Bob will play with the band at some of the tailgates before the parade instead of bringing breakfast. 

“This year the parade is in the afternoon so we don’t have to cook,” Kruse joked. 

In 2005, the Alumni Drumline purchased a tile inside the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion as a tangible gesture to be a part of the UA athletics community. 

“The younger guys [in the drumline] wanted to do a tile and so we all chipped in some money,” Bob said.

Bob has been involved with the Alumni Drumline since 1985, approximately 13 years after he graduated from the UA. He said the drumline has kept him feeling young, “except after the homecoming parade when I feel very tired.”

            RELATED:  A Mountain lighting kicks off Homecoming week 

Although Bob is a member of three other non-UA bands in Tucson, he said he would feel disconnected from the university if he were not a part of the Alumni Drumline. 

“I would probably feel a little left out, wishing I could still play with a fun group like that,” he said.

Carlos Hermosa, another member of the UA Alumni Drumline, said he looks forward to reconnecting with members at their annual performances. 

“No matter how far we all come from, it’s the spirit of Homecoming and returning to our alma mater for a bit of nostalgia that makes it worthwhile,” he said.

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