Marching band madness

Category:  News
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 9:31 AM
Marching band madness by Amber Chisholm
Photo: Ben McCullough

With their respective sounds and uniforms, the Edinboro University Marching Band held their place once again at Edinboro University’s 2018 Homecoming events.  

Present at both the parade and the Edinboro, Gannon football game, pieces like “The Star-Spangled Banner, “Scotland The Brave” and others filled the air.

“We’re just here to represent the university and welcome alumni home,” Sarah Schouten, an instructor of high brass and the marching band co-director, said. 

“The goal is just to put on a good show,” Jillian Melchitzky, a drum major, said. 

Aside from putting on a good show, expectations include doing the best they can and to “remind the school why band and music is so important,” Sarah Irwin, a baritone saxophone player who is also involved with Kappa Kappa Psi, a National Honorary band fraternity, said.

Alumni also take part. Ali Jeffords, an alumna who graduated last May, said that it feels different to be back but that marching band “gives you a sense of family” and that she met most of her friends through her time here. 

Katie Victor, a senior, agrees and can relate. “I always have these people to rely on,” she said, stating that bonds aren’t formed over just music.

“It felt like I was coming home,” said Victoria Scott, an alumna who claims that Edinboro’s marching band is unlike that of other universities and says she misses the university traditions, especially events and opportunities like this.

Carol Strayer, a junior, said that marching band “helped [her] to open up and realize how great of a school this is,” explaining that it serves as a healthy outlet with a supportive environment. 

Membership has been a struggle since the music program cuts and with student transfers. However, Traci Balsamo, the assistant director, was confident in the students’ ability to perform before, during, and after homecoming. “They’re a great group of musicians,” she said. 

The marching band recently welcomed another co-director, Armond Walter, who was previously a member and who is taking on his first year as an Edinboro University faculty member. 

Walter, an alumnus who graduated in 2009 with his bachelor’s in music education — and who also serves as the director of instrumental music at Meadville Area Senior High School — hopes that all involved “have a rewarding experience” and wants this year to be one where “[band members] can see their growth as musicians.”

“It’s nice to know that he’s been in our shoes since he knows what to expect; he knows what he’s doing,” said Victor.

Schouten hopes that people see the hard work of students and realize the band is here to serve the university and community. She also praised their homecoming results, stating that they “had a lot of spirit and heart” and that she is proud of how they did.

Practice for the event has taken place since the beginning of the semester, therefore the group “had a lot of work in very little time,” according to Schouten. Or as Hope Colvin said during the event, “We’ve put in a lot of effort.” 

Schouten acknowledged the winning energy felt when both the football team and band perform well, like that of another member. 

“It pays off, it’s really nice,” said Kas Dolan, a flute player, section leader and homecoming court candidate.

Walter feels the football game and parade are “equally exciting in their own ways.”

Mattias Blystra expressed that their presence in the parade and the event itself “went really well” as he noticed more attention from the crowd this year. 

As the school’s fight song was played before the game, following each touchdown, and after Edinboro’s win, Fighting Scots of the past, present and future were able to connect and keep Edinboro University’s roots alive and strong. 

Amber Chisholm can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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