Bulldog Marching Band and Fresno State Cheer: The backbone of the Red Wave experience


Courtesy of Kristine Kemmer, photo by Joseph Khalifa

Kristine Kemmer directs the Bulldog Marching Band at a football game.

By Valentina Saldaña, Sports Editor

Keeping the energy up at Fresno State athletic events is not a responsibility that relies only on the fans, but also on the Spirit Program to pump up the Red Wave. 

The Fresno State Cheer team and Bulldog Marching Band perform next to the student sections at Valley Children’s Stadium and the Save Mart Center.

Here is how those organizations contribute to the game day experience.

Aleena Silvas (second to the right, bottom row) poses with the cheer team and Jimmy Kimmel at the LA Bowl game. (Courtesy of Aleena Silvas)

Bulldog Marching Band

The Bulldog Marching Band performs next to the student section at Valley Children’s Stadium and the Save Mart Center. 

Kemmer balances her student and band life. As a student, she enjoys the comradery of the Red Wave in tailgates, but she also plays a big part of the fan experience as a performer. 

Kristine Kemmer has been an assistant drum major since last season and is looking forward to being the head drum major this coming fall season. 

Kemmer, a music composition major with a minor in dance, will lead the other two drum majors. All three will be responsible for leading approximately 300 band members. 

Kemmer told The Collegian how the Bulldog Marching Band provided a lot of energy at the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl game on Dec. 17 at SoFi Stadium.

“The energy was a little bit low in the stadium but I feel like we definitely provided that extra boost. The band is always such a hype thing,” Kemmer said.

The band also participates in outside parades. Most recently, it took part in the 2023 Rose Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland. 

All of these once-in-a-lifetime occasions  come with playing for the Bulldog Marching Band, but Kemmer’s favorite experience is a bit different. 

“So we’ll spend like seven to 10 days in the summer nonstop from 8 in the morning to 9:30 at night with just a few breaks for meals, just preparing for the season. It sounds exhausting and it is exhausting, but it’s also probably the most fun I’ll have throughout the season because you’re just surrounded by these people all the time,” she said. 

For students, specifically freshmen, who plan to participate in the Bulldog Marching Band, Kemmer shared a few tips. 

“We are an audition ensemble. As long as you can play your instrument to the level that we need, then, totally I’d recommend joining or just auditioning in the first place. It is a really great experience,” she said. 

The Bulldog Marching Band performs at SoFi Stadium for the LA Bowl game. (Manuel Hernande/The Collegian)

Cheer Team

Aleena Silvas just finished her first season as a part of the cheer team this year. She is a pre-nursing major heading into her second year at Fresno State. 

The cheer team is responsible for bringing in energy at Fresno State athletic events. Along with performing at games, the cheer team also competes at different competitions and travels to perform at away games.

“It’s actually quite amazing because I’ve been able to go on a lot of trips. Like I’ve been able to go to the bowl game for football and the Mountain West baseball tournament as well,” she said. 

Her favorite experience from this season was the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl game, where she met Jimmy Kimmel and participated in a dance competition against the Washington State team. 

Silvas said that those who are interested in being a part of the team should try out with confidence no matter the turn out. 

She also had a suggestion for people who plan on attending athletic events as part of the Red Wave. 

“Honestly, just have fun. You’re coming into something like new. Just live it up,” she said. 

The Fresno State cheer and band team will continue to provide that energy boost starting fall semester.

The Fresno State Cheer team performs at the Save Mart Center. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)