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Teen's wish comes true at Notre Dame this weekend

Nov 20, 2009, 12:00 PM EDT

While Senior Day brings emotions not usually seen on the football field, some of the most cherished memories this weekend will come from someone stepping onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time.

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Krauss has always dreamed of hitting the field inside the hallowed stadium, but his aspirations haven’t been to score a clutch fourth quarter touchdown. Jacob has always wished to make his mark at halftime, with the University of Notre Dame Marching Band.

“Notre Dame is America’s first marching band and best-known over the past 160 years,” Jacob said. “I want to play with the best.”

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jacob’s dream is coming true.

While Jacob battles cystic fibrosis, his love of music has never wavered. Even after his school, Alameda High in Lakewood, Colorado, was forced to cancel its marching band due to a lack of student interest, Jacob continued to play multiple instruments, including the clarinet.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Notre Dame’s Office of News & Information, and Mike Williams, a Notre Dame alum who lives in Colorado all teamed to help Jacob fulfill his wish to play his clarinet alongside the marching band.

Joined by his mother and grandmother, Jacob was fitted for an official band uniform this morning. The rest of his Friday includes a private tour of Notre Dame stadium, a clarinet lesson with band instructor Alison Thigpen, and joining the band as they play in the final pep rally of the season at the Irish Green.

Game day will bring even more excitement for Jacob, as he’ll join the band for a pregame concert outside of Bond Hall. Jacob will be on the field during the band’s pregame performance, before joining his new mates in the Marching Band seats down on the field.

“We have a lot of fun activities planned for Jacob to make this a very special Notre Dame experience,” said Jennifer Laiber, who is spearheading the weekend events for ND’s News & Information department. “His passion for music and desire to play clarinet alongside our marching band has been an inspiration to everyone involved in planning Jacob’s wish.”

While Saturday’s game will be cherished by seniors stepping foot on the field for the last time, this first visit will be a dream come true for Jacob Krauss.

  1. Chuck Varilek - Nov 23, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    Congratulations to Jacob! As his middle school band director, I was always impressed with him, both as a musician and as a person. I watched the highlights on Channel 9 on Saturday night. What an honor! Keep playing your clarinet and if you ever want to play with the Estes Park bands again, come on back! P.S. Thanks to Notre Dame for making this available to Jacob.

  2. 2late2matter - Nov 23, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    Indifferent to ND’s football loss on Saturday, I am happy for Jacob’s “win”.
    ND has always represented a ‘quality’ collegiate program and Jacob playing with the best is a cherished memory for all involved. This exemplifies the generosity of humankind and the perseverence of one individual to succeed against all odds — Jacob Krauss.
    Wishing he and his family a Happy Thanksgiving.

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