When you hear trumpets playing that instantly recognizable college football victory song during the BCS National Championship Game televised on Jan. 7, know that two Notre Dame students from Monroe County are helping to provide the pomp and pageantry of that university’s storybook season.
University of Notre Dame senior Jenny Lesko and freshman Steve Trottier, both of Columbia, play trumpet in the Fighting Irish Marching Band. Both Lesko and Trottier attended grade school at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia. Lesko graduated from Gibault High School in Waterloo; Trottier is a graduate of DeSmet Jesuit High School in St. Louis.
They have had an up-close view of their football team’s magical return to glory with a perfect 12-0 season and a date with defending national champion Alabama looming in Miami, Fla.
“Jenny and the band will be there for the parade, pep rally, halftime show and during the game,” said her father, Alan Lesko. “It’s a storybook season.”
Jenny Lesko has played trumpet in the school’s marching and pep bands all four years. She was recently awarded the Diamond Shamrock, the Notre Dame band’s highest honor awarded to members for dedication and participation over her four years.
Alan Lesko said his daughter has played in numerous places, including Ireland, Brazil, Michigan Stadium, Soldier Field in Chicago, Washington D.C. — not to mention every home Notre Dame football game the last four years.
The band, now in its 167th season, last year was awarded the Sudler Trophy for being the best university band in the nation.
Mary Trottier said her son has thoroughly enjoyed his first season with the band.
“Playing in the band this year was very exciting for him and he is thrilled to be playing in the National Championship Game in Miami,” she told the Republic-Times. “Marching onto the field at Notre Dame and playing at the traditional ‘Trumpets in the Dome’ has been an unbelievable experience for him.”
Both Fighting Irish band members are especially fond of their education in the music program at ICS, where, as Alan Lesko said, they established their foundation.
Mary Trottier also credited the school and its principal for her son’s early musical success.
“Mr. Kish (ICS principal) greatly inspired the kids to pursue music,” she said.
One can only imagine the thrill of the moment both of these Monroe Countians will get to experience Jan. 7, as they perform one of the most famous college fight songs in the country for 80,000 roaring fans and millions more watching on TV.