My Day with Pete Friedmann

Photo of Pete Friedmann and Christine Ngeo Katzman.

A year ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to shadow Pete Friedmann, the voice of the Northwestern University Marching Band (NUMB), on a typical game day. We had won the experience through a silent auction.

As a NUMB member way back when, I had always admired Friedmann from afar as his voice boomed confidently somewhere through the air to announce NUMB’s show programs. But I also knew that Friedmann was easily approachable with a winning smile and welcome handshake. Therefore, I was excited for the opportunity to have an up-close encounter with the man behind the voice.

For a night game against Duke University with a start time of 7 p.m., we met up with Friedmann at 3:30 p.m. to attend NUMB’s final rehearsal at the indoor practice facility. There, they did run-throughs of pregame and a Broadway halftime show including an arrangement from “Hamilton.”

Next, we wove around the perimeter of the building to a walkway where the band greeted the arriving football players with fight songs as they made their way into the stadium. Then because of a special singer for “The Star Spangled Banner” that day, we followed the band into Ryan Field itself to participate in a sound check with the guest artist.

Afterward, Friedmann gave us a personal tour of the press box, showing us where he sits and speaks during the game and where television reporters and other journalists relay their stories.

After a casual and quick lunch with the band, we followed Friedmann and NUMB to Wildcat Alley where NUMB performs a standstill concert to fire up the fans. We hurried back to the press box just a few minutes before pregame.

We watched the game from our special seats, catching up with Friedmann throughout the next few hours to watch him make announcements in his “fishbowl.” We stayed all the way until the post-game concert at nearly 11 p.m.

While we may think that band announcers have an easy job, the experience with Friedmann that day opened my eyes to all the different game-day activities in which they participate. It’s a long, grueling day packed with back-to-back-to-back appearances.

I decided that I shouldn’t be the only one getting this behind-the-scenes look. That day with Friedmann inspired this issue’s “The Voice” feature. The story profiles Friedmann as well as three additional familiar voices from the high school, college, indoor, and drum corps activities. In the article, you’ll see that these individuals provide not only the voice but also the heart behind the marching arts. Hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

About author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman is founder and chief executive officer of Muse Media, LLC, creator of books, magazines, and additional content highlighting performing arts and youth activities. Magazine assets include Halftime Magazine for marching arts participants and fans as well as Yamaha SupportED Magazine for K through 12 music educators. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Crain Communications and Imagination Publishing and a marketing manager at Chatsworth Products, Inc. Christine also worked for Yamaha Band and Orchestral Division. As a child, Christine learned five instruments, with flute being primary. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. Christine graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997 and earned an MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in 2007.

Celebrate Your Music

A snare drummer marching alone on a field while drumming to “It’s a Small World” seems like a pretty ridiculous image, right? Percussionist Mark Carman ...