Wishing to Perform

Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation/University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame’s marching band did more than entertain fans on Nov. 21, 2009; it granted a 15-year-old’s wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Jacob Krauss, a high school freshman, assembled his clarinet as usual, but the day wasn’t ordinary. He donned a Notre Dame uniform and played with the band during its pre-game performance.

Krauss has cystic fibrosis. Thick mucus buildup in his digestive track and lungs can be life threatening. Malnourishment and respiratory failure become concerns.

But that hasn’t stopped Krauss from playing the clarinet, saxophone, guitar and percussion. While Krauss plays in jazz band and percussion band, his high school cancelled the 2009 marching band due to low student interest. But, Krauss got the ultimate marching band experience when he left his hometown in Colorado to play at Notre Dame.

Krauss felt the rush of performing in a stadium with about 80,000 seats during the pre-game show and throughout the game. He also attended a pep rally, received a private lesson from one of the band’s instructors, conducted the band from the podium at rehearsal and received a first-year band pin.

While Notre Dame’s football team lost to the University of Connecticut, the experience for Krauss was dreamlike. “I’m a football fan, but I didn’t care about the team winning or losing; it was the actual playing with the band that I was worried about,” he said. “It was amazing.”

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