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'Victory begins at midnight' - with the drummer's circle

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For nearly two decades, the Notre Dame drumline has been kicking off game day in front of the dome with the Midnight Drummers’ Circle. ABC 57 followed along to check out all the hype.

“We take game day very seriously around here,” said drum captain and snare drum player, Ben Vasquez.

A senior, Vasquez leads the charge from the rehearsal hall to the Dome every home game day.

“The theory behind the Midnight Drummer's Circle is that victory begins at midnight…so it kicks off the entire game day by starting right at midnight and getting everyone hyped up,” said senior McKenzie Brummond, who plays cymbals.

“It really just vibrates your bones, melts your face off. Especially if you’re standing right behind the bass drums, it goes through your whole body,” said Matthew Domenech, who plays quads.

“We’re generally very excited. We like to think it’s contagious,” said Brummond.

It’s a contagion that’s been spreading for 17 years.

“It started I think in 2000 just as kind of a ‘what if’ idea among a couple of people on the Notre Dame drumline, and now it’s expanded into something that is a real game day tradition now,” said bass drum player Andrew Grose.

“The drumline is actually the oldest part of the band, and so we kind of pride ourselves on still hanging on to some of that history,” said McKenzie.

That’s why they want to make sure students, fans, and their families celebrate this history with them.

“We walk from here out to the dome. We’re usually yelling at people going by, like you’re going the wrong way. Go this way, big shiny gold thing!” said Domenech.

Once they get to the dome, the fun begins.

“That’s definitely my favorite part, when you don’t have to be serious and upright,” said Domenech, demonstrating with a stern face.

With the first ‘rap!’ on the drum, the crowd bursts into cheers.

“[It] makes me feel that hey all this practice that we put in really is coming off as impressive to the people we perform for,” said Grose.

While they all agree the focus is on pumping up fans, their favorite part is just hanging out with ’34 of their closest friends.’

“So the whole band says that our three pillars are tradition, excellence, and family, and I would say the drumline has definitely been my family at Notre Dame,” said Brummond.

“It’s easy to forget how special this experience really is…and I think it’s something that everybody needs to come and see at least once in their life,” said Grose.

If you want to see it, meet outside of the Dome at midnight before every home football game.

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