Woodbury and East Ridge high school grads are making music in the University of Minnesota Marching Band

Woodbury graduates make music together in the University of Minnesota Marching Band.
Libby Witte, Jeff Oberlander and Kaity Major at TCF Bank Stadium

Imagine yourself on a September afternoon, sitting up in the stands at a University of Minnesota Gophers’ football game. Smell the popcorn and the hot dogs, feel the late-summer sun on your face. Hear the roar of the crowd…and the big-brass sound of the marching band.

This fall, the University of Minnesota Marching Band boasts a bumper crop of students who call Woodbury their hometown. We talked with three Woodbury natives about taking their passion for band to the next level in college, and how they’re planning to keep the music alive.

Kaity Major
Woodbury High School, Class of 2012
College Major: Speech, language and hearing sciences
Instrument: Trumpet

Why the trumpet?
I’ve been playing since 4th grade. I tried tuba for two weeks, but it didn’t work out. I also wanted to play flute, but my band director said I didn’t have the correct embouchure [mouth shape]. So he put me on trumpet, and I enjoy playing it. I’ve been able to enhance my skills.

What inspired you to continue with band in college?

In band, there’s a connection that is so indescribable and powerful…you have a second family. Keeping up with band in college has been a nice constant for me…I can go to rehearsal, and it’s routine, so I forget about my worries going on with school.

What’s the best part about Marching Band at the University?

Being able to perform a piece you’ve been working on…is a fun aspect. I also have the best friendships with people in the band.

How much time do you spend on Marching Band during the year?

It’s huge. It takes up a lot of time. All throughout football season, we practice, starting two weeks before school starts. We have two-hour rehearsals every weekday during the season, and then football games on Saturdays.

Jeff Oberlander
Woodbury High School, Class of 2008
College Major: Biology
Instrument: Trumpet

How has band influenced your life?

I’ve always loved playing the trumpet. [In my senior year of high school], I was planning to go to the University of Minnesota and play in Marching Band. But then, a member of the Marine Corps Band [visited] the high school, and I got interested [and joined the Marine Corps Band]. Now I’m in my second year at the University of Minnesota.

What’s your advice to young musicians? Why choose band?
It’s a really good hobby. Band gets you around other people that have something in common. And brass, especially, can be kind of prestigious. I enjoyed playing in the Marine Corps band…even playing Taps at a memorial service is very meaningful. Marching Band is really fun.

Libby Witte
East Ridge High School, Class of 2013
College Major: Earth science
Instrument: Trumpet

When did you start playing the trumpet?
I started playing trumpet during my junior year of high school, for marching band. I’d been in choir and in orchestra. I had a good friend [in marching band], and we thought it would be fun if I joined.

What ensembles are you a part of?

I play in the University of Minnesota Marching Band and Pep Band. In Pep Band, we play at hockey and basketball games…but no marching. I’m also involved in Minnesota Brass, which is a drum and bugle corps. We compete around the country. It’s kind of like a fancy, competitive marching band.

What’s the best part about Marching Band at the University?

It’s a great combination of a physical and mental activity...you need to be able to run around, while also playing music. It’s a good way to keep your brain and body engaged in something throughout your whole life.


Check out the University of Minnesota Marching Band at Gophers’ home football games this fall. Visit gophersports.com for a full schedule.

Woodbury has turned out a talented group of collegiate band musicians. Here’s a roster of those who are tooting their horns at the University of Minnesota:

East Ridge High School Graduates

  • Josh Glendenning
  • Adam Pallas
  • Hailey Teel

Woodbury High School Graduates

  • Sarah Chau
  • Brad Billstein
  • Jeanette Burianek
  • Tyler DePaulis
  • Sam Dobs
  • Alex Huffman
  • Yang Liu
  • Taylor Mitsch
  • Ashley Weeks