Up Close With MICHAEL BUCHE (ND '17)
After becoming one of the first Evans Scholars in nearly 50 years to attend the University of Notre Dame, Michael Buche set an ambitious goal for himself upon arriving in South Bend – audition for and join the famed Band of the Fighting Irish.
To the Crestwood, Ill., native who played drums in his high school marching band, the 380-member ensemble had a certain allure.
“My brother Matt is a junior at Notre Dame, so I was at a few football games my junior and senior years of high school,” said Michael, a freshman who hopes to study mechanical engineering. “I looked forward to seeing the band more than the game itself. I was especially in awe of the drum line. They were amazing. After I found out I was accepted into Notre Dame, my focus turned to making sure that I would be ready to try out for the drum line in August.”
The audition was a success, Michael soon found himself on the hallowed ground of Notre Dame and performing in one of the most iconic marching bands in collegiate sports.
“Being a member of the University of Notre Dame Band is incredible,” Michael said. “Every home game is basically a whole day of playing and marching, starting at midnight the night before when the drum line has its Midnight Drummer Circle. It’s my favorite part of being on the drum line. We never fail to draw a large crowd, even at such a late hour. Midnight Drummer Circle is a must-see for anyone wishing to get the full gameday experience.”
Being in the band also took Michael to Dallas for Notre Dame’s game against Arizona State and to New York City for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in December.
Though playing before thousands at Cowboys Stadium and Yankee Stadium was exhilarating, performing wasn’t Michael’s favorite part about those trips.
“Both cities are fantastic, but the food in Dallas and in New York City really stood out,” Michael said. “It was some of the best food I have ever had.”
Attending Notre Dame on an Evans Scholarship was not an opportunity Michael thought he would have.
When he applied for the scholarship as a senior at St. Laurence High School and a caddie at The Beverly Country Club in Chicago, an Evans Scholar had not graduated from Notre Dame since 1961.
A historic partnership between the private university and the Western Golf Association last year meant qualified caddies could again attend Notre Dame on an Evans Scholarship beginning with Michael and his roommate at Siegfried Hall, Anthony LaGuardia of Seattle, Wash., and Seattle Golf Club.
“Being an Evans Scholar at Notre Dame is a dream come true,” Michael said. “Before I knew I could receive the Evans here, I was under an immense stress because I had no idea how I could choose between accepting the scholarship and attending Notre Dame. I did not want to close the door on either opportunity. This is seriously everything that I could have ever asked for, and I am eternally grateful. “
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HARDCORE ABOUT HOCKEY
Hockey has long been one of Michael’s favorite pastimes and, even while attending Notre Dame and juggling other extracurricular activities, he has found time to get on the ice. He recently played for Siegfried Hall’s intramural hockey team and is now on a ball hockey team with his brother Matt. “Hockey has been such a big part of my life for so long that if I don’t play somewhat frequently, I start to miss it very quickly.”
WEARS SHORTS IN FEBRUARY
As part of Siegfried Hall’s annual Day of Man fundraiser, Michael and others donned shorts, t-shirts and sandals for an entire frigid February day to help raise money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless. “When I got up for breakfast it was minus 2 with a nasty wind. The worst part about it was definitely wearing flip-flops because my toes never really warmed up. It was worth it because of how generous students and faculty were around campus. We raised more than $9,000.”
Studying to become an engineer can be challenging but, as Michael recently found out, it can also be fun. In one of his classes, he and a group of four classmates have been tasked with designing a video game. “The end product will involve two players and possibly an intelligent computer player, and we’re all very motivated to make it the best it can be. Working on the game doesn’t even feel like work, because it is so exciting to be able to create a complete video game from lines of code."