marching band photo
Photo provided by Manchester University Bands
Members of the MU Marching Band enjoy making friends within the band and engaging with the audience through popular music.

Marching Band Debuts, Performs in New Stadium

Heather Gierke

Manchester University Marching Band sounds off its official debut year with a fresh start after the COVID-19 virus prevented a full release by heavy restrictions on events last year.

“We had to remain socially distant last year, and we weren’t really able to use the stadium,” Connor Hamilton said. “It made practice a lot harder, and even now with the restrictions indoors we have to wear masks even while blowing through our instruments.

“It’s been hard,” he continued. “It changes the acoustics of the room; it makes it hard to communicate with other band members.”

Many first-year marchers come into university without knowing people, but the MU Marching Band allows students to make new friends in activities they are passionate about. “Everyone kinda ends up knowing each other, they for the most part get along with each other, and the occasional conflict gets resolved easily because there are few people in the program overall,” Hamilton said, “but I really ended up making good friends and I’m feeling right at home with people I can be close to.”

Scott Humphries, an associate professor of music, is known for making his students feel welcome. As the director of the marching band, he works closely with students and gets to know them on a personal level. “I can say that Scott helped me feel included and he really listened to my problems and made me feel heard,” Hamilton said. “I feel like my opinion matters to Scott. I’m usually formal with my professors, but I can be more casual with him, and I call him Scott.”

The MU Marching Band is proud of their teamwork and strives to bring perfection to every performance. The band practices on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and they put a lot of time outside practice into their music. “We study the music, which is generally pop songs, which has been nice because it is easily memorizable,” Hamilton said. “The music also allows us to engage our audience.”

The MU Marching Band is looking forward to the future of the program, which was established Fall 2020. “I am really looking forward to next year and to the rest of my college experience in the marching band, ” Hamilton said. “I’m glad I can keep up with my friends in an activity we all enjoy,” he said, “I am excited to continue playing and to see the future of this band. I think there’s a lot of good stuff happening and I am happy to be part of it.