OLIVET, Mich. (AP) - This fall, the sounds of trumpets and the beat of drums will be heard across the Olivet College campus.
After going without a marching band for more than 30 years, the private liberal arts college has brought back its marching band to perform at football games, Director of Bands Jeremy Duby told the Battle Creek Enquirer ( https://bcene.ws/1K8bLwv ).
When the band director started working at the college a couple of years ago, he said the school had an athletic pep band with 10 students and a wind ensemble. It was always his goal to bring a marching band back to campus.
“In the past, we’ve attended the athletic events as a pep band in the stands so we’ve played at the games from the stands but we’ve never done a show on the field,” Duby said.
Duby has been recruiting student musicians since he’s been at the college. He said the marching band is a part of campus life.
“I mean, the marching band really is the center of student life and school spirit, and so it really adds a whole other atmosphere to the football game, … so it’s a much bigger way for us to support our team and to get the entire community involved and make that game a community event every Saturday,” Duby said.
The marching band, made up of 25 students ranging from freshmen to seniors, practiced reecntly on the college’s Intramural Field. Music blasted from the students’ instruments as they performed marching routines; a color guard practiced its flag routines.
The band’s first performance will be Sept. 5 at the home football game against Earlham College at Cutler Field. Besides marching at football games, the band will perform at other campus events. The band has been invited to march in the New Year’s Day parade in Paris, France, in January.
“Throughout the rest of the year, it’s different campus events,” Duby said. “We are doing a parade-esque thing for student life during homecoming week, where we’re going to do a pied piper deal where you pick up each organization and bring them to a large bonfire.”
Duby predicted the marching band will grow.
“In the next few years, I see us growing exponentially,” he said. “I’d like to have a 100-piece band, probably within the next five years, probably sooner than that.”
Hailey Willett, an Olivet College senior who plays clarinet in the marching band, said she was in band in high school.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue marching band,” Willett said. “It was something that I thoroughly enjoyed in high school and so to have the opportunity as a senior to get back on the field and get things moving and going … it’s just a blessing.”
Freshman Emily Dorn, who plays the trumpet, also performed in her high school’s marching band. She said she likes being a part of marching band because “band is like a family.”
“In some organizations or clubs, activities, there’s like usually cliques within or groups but within a band, it’s more everyone accepts each other as they are.”
And for Dave Macqueen, a 1975 Olivet graduate who helped out during a recent practice, the marching band was a welcome and familiar sight. He played in the college’s original marching band back in the ‘70s.
“The first year we marched in blue jeans and white shirts,” Macqueen said. “We were small but we had a great time and we were taught very well.”
Macqueen ended up teaching band for the rest of his life. He said seeing the “rejuvenation” of the school’s band was terrific.
“This is a great part of the college experience, getting together and marching down to the field, putting on a half-time show, sitting in the stands and having a great time.”
Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com
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