NU band members take purple pride to the next level

    As far as Frank Kaufhold is concerned, Purple Fridays don't go far enough.

    In fact, for nearly two weeks, the McCormick senior not only added more of Northwestern's color to his wardrobe, but also gave up another entirely: Buckeye scarlet.

    Kaufhold and other members of Northwestern University Marching Band began "fasting red" and avoiding the color completely to prepare for Saturday’s matchup against Ohio State. No red T-shirts, hoodies or the mortal sin – Ohio State gear.

    Kaufhold said he heard from a friend who saw someone wearing an Ohio State shirt on a campus shuttle.

    "If I would have seen that person, I would have accosted them," he said with a laugh. "I would have been friendly, but I’d let them know they were wearing the wrong thing."

    Kaufhold said the idea came to him shortly after Northwestern's Sept. 21 victory over Maine.

    "It’s a way to get students thinking and in the back of their minds… it's an extra way to show their purple pride."

    The nearly religious feeling of the fast is fitting, considering Kaufhold's devotion to the Wildcats. He takes his job as "Official Band Geek" seriously.

    "It’s my job to be as loud as possible during the games," he said.

    Also avoiding the color is Kaufhold's bandmate and SpiriTeam member Andrew Rothschild. The Ohio native, whose parents met at Northwestern, is familiar with cheering against the Buckeyes.

    "This is the biggest game I've ever seen," the Weinberg senior said. "I’ve been trash-talking people at home all week."

    It's not the first time the band has tried to increase school spirit, but the stakes are higher now. Kaufhold said he isn't sure how many are participating, but said he has seen a lot more purple this week.

    "There are 180 members in our band, so there are 180 people trying their darndest," he said.

    Rothschild agrees.

    "I was sitting in class today and a professor called out a group of band kids because we were all in purple, even though it is only Thursday," he said.

    Though Kaufhold shrugged off the idea of superstition, he said he hopes this encourages Northwestern fans.

    "I hope that people realize this is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Kaufhold said. "The eyes of the nation are on Evanston... when we beat Ohio State on Saturday night, they will want to say in 50 years 'I was there.'"

    Wearing purple, of course.


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