CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Illinois football is preparing to kick off their season next week, and so are some of their biggest supporters. 

The 400-person Marching Illini is preparing their pregame show this week during preseason camp. They’re learning with the help of a new assistant director. 

Dr. Hannah Rudy comes into the position from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. She said she always wanted to be a college band director but didn’t imagine working with a group like the Marching Illini so soon. 

“My whole teaching philosophy is built around making great experiences for the students,” Rudy said. “Whether it be musical excellence or marching excellence, I want them to love and enjoy what they’re doing and feel fulfilled in their overall experience.”

She helps teach marching fundamentals, halftime drill and music. 

Rudy said the transition has been a whirlwind but is enjoying every moment. 

The band will perform at each home football game this fall. They’ll travel to a Chicago Bears game and Navy Pier on Sept. 25 and the University of Michigan on Nov. 19.