On Saturday, I went up to Notre Dame (at Domer’s request) for the Band’s annual “Plaiding Ceremony.”
I didn’t stay for the game — didn’t have a ticket.
I didn’t spend the night — hadn’t booked a hotel.
But he wanted me there, and it would be my first chance to see him since he returned to the States from Ireland, so I went.
And I’m glad I did!
Before the ceremony, I wandered around campus, taking in the familiar sights and sounds.
People milling around, eating, tossing footballs, laughing:
I made my way into the student union and saw this cool T-shirt (it’s already personalized with Domer’s name, too!):
After I got back outside, I fell in love with this tree. Doesn’t it look like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family??:
When time neared for the Plaiding Ceremony, I caught up with Domer and we walked over to Bond Hall, the architecture building. That’s the site for the Band’s Concert on the Steps prior to every home football game, and it’s got a ginormous stairway — big enough to accommodate the entire Band.
Though they’re packed in like sardines! (If you follow the Photos tab on the Bond Hall link, you’ll see what I mean).
Anyway, the Plaiding Ceremony is one of the Band’s traditions. During Band Camp in August, students receive their uniforms, but the first-years don’t get a plaid.
Prior to the first home game, they’re called to the steps and welcomed. The upperclassmen, wearing the plaid of the freshman they’ve been assigned, climb the steps, find their freshman, remove the plaid, and affix it to the freshman’s uniform.
After pictures and hugs, everyone except the seniors vacates the steps, making way for the person the senior has selected to affix their plaid.
Which looks somewhat different from the underclassman’s plaid.
It’s got more “flash” and gold roping. It’s also theirs, purchased by them to keep forever.
You’re probably wondering what the plaid looks like. Well, excuse the sorry state of Domer’s dorm room door, but here it is:
It was specially designed for Notre Dame and is trademarked and copyrighted. It incorporates the school colors of blue and gold, green for the Irish, red for the Church and the Holy Cross Fathers, and black to tie it all together.
The plaid is outlined in gold and has the senior Band student’s name embroidered on the inside. It buttons to the epaulets on the left shoulder and drapes behind the student, providing an eye-catching shimmer when the Band spins and moves.
The ND Band is the oldest university band in continuous existence in the United States. Its traditions go way back, with even legendary football Coach Knute Rockne having been a flute player and former AD Moose Krause a clarinet player.
As I hugged Domer and headed for home, I took one more shot, over the lake toward the Golden Dome and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart: