MEET THE MAVS

BRINGING JOY

By Mike Abboud

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, music has always been a big part of my life.

No one else in my family was really into playing music, but it was just something that struck a chord in my heart.

My parents have been extremely supportive ever since.

From a young age, I was drawn to the sound of the saxophone, and I knew that I wanted to pursue it.

In fifth grade, when the school brought in instruments for us to try, the saxophone immediately caught my attention.

I loved the sound it produced and the joy it brought to people.

Little did I know that this love for music would eventually lead me to the tuba.

 

Embracing the tuba

When I got to high school, our band was short on low brass instruments.

Our director approached me and asked if I would be interested in learning the tuba.

Without hesitation, I agreed.

It was a big learning curve, but it was a fun jump to make.

Since then, I have been playing the tuba, alongside my saxophone, but the tuba has become a fun secondary instrument.

It’s been amazing to see the places the tuba has taken me since I made the switch in high school.

I knew it was something I’d want to continue to pursue in college, and I’m extremely grateful for all the doors it has opened since.

The Tuba parade

During my time at UNO, I joined the Maverick Machine, the pep band that performs outside of the marching season.

It was during this time that I learned about the Tuba Parade.

The Tuba Parade is a student-led tradition where the tubas of the Maverick Machine march around the concourse of Baxter Arena during hockey games, playing energetic tunes and bringing the joy of music to the fans.

The Tuba Parade wasn’t always a big thing.

It started about four years ago, led by a tuba player named Nathan.

However, when COVID hit, Nathan graduated, and I was asked to continue the tradition.

I reached out to Nathan to learn more about the parade and how to make it even better.

He was extremely helpful in guiding me and offering advice on how to expand the parade.

Since then, the Tuba Parade has grown bigger than anyone could have imagined, and it’s a stable of our gameday tradition here at UNO.

Being asked to continue the Tuba Parade meant a lot to me.

It was an opportunity to bring joy to others through music, which is something I am passionate about.

The best part about the parade is that we get to choose the songs we play.

We take into account the opinions of the players and audience to make each performance unique and exciting.

It’s all about creating a positive, exciting, and interactive experience for the fans.

And it brings me such joy to see how it gets our fans fired up.

That’s the reason, “Hey Baby,” is my favorite song.

Seeing everyone singing, smiling, dancing and really getting into it — it’s hard to describe.

People are high-fiving us as we are performing, and it’s just a blast to bring happiness to the people. 

The band plays a crucial role in the athletic atmosphere at UNO.

The directors and athletes have done a great job of including everyone, from the band to the dance and cheer teams.

Our job, as the band, is to bring the energy and enthusiasm to the game.

We want to create a positive and exciting gameday experience for everyone involved.

It’s just amazing to see how the different sections, including the band, work together to get the fans pumped up.

The players appreciate it, too, and we hope the energy helps them perform their best.

Being asked to continue the Tuba Parade meant a lot to me. It was an opportunity to bring joy to others through music, which is something I am passionate about.

Looking to the future

As I continue my journey in music, I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in classical saxophone.

I hope to teach high school music one day.

When I was in high school, I had so many influential teachers who saw potential in me and gave me the courage to pursue the musical path.

Because of them, I want to have that same influence on others through teaching.

The experiences I’ve had with the UNO band, especially the Tuba Parade, have also solidified my love for music and my desire to share that joy with others.

Alongside teaching, I want to continue playing my instruments.

I would love to perform in some concerts and small gigs so I can still play on my own.

At that point, it will be really neat to see my career in music come full circle.

It’s a journey that began with the saxophone and eventually led me to embrace the tuba.

Leading the Tuba Parade has become a cherished tradition at UNO, and being asked to take on that role has been a tremendous honor.

This experience has given me just as much, if not more, than those who listen to it.

Leading our team and interacting with fans has shown me the true power of music — to bring joy and create memorable experiences.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the musical community.

Whether through teaching or performing, I hope to continue spreading the joy of music in the years to come.