What Would My Life be without Marching Band?

I’ve been involved in band since I was 11 years old and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was in fifth grade when I decided I wanted to expand my talents in music and play more than just the recorder. I remember when I went to try out all the instruments and the employee at Marshall Music said I’d be better off playing clarinet. Well, being the stubborn tween that I was, I made the decision to play alto saxophone instead. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

At the end of eighth grade, I was handed a purple piece of paper with a time and date for a meeting about marching band. My first thought was, what the heck is marching band? I gave my mom the paper and she said to attend the meeting. I told her I didn’t want to go, but we ended up going anyway. This meeting was just to let us know what marching band was like and what show the band would perform for the upcoming season. I told my mom that I didn’t want to do it, still, I ended up joining marching band. I had a couple of reasons: my mom did it when she was in high school and I had nothing better to do.

It was the best decision of my life. I broke out of my shell, started talking to people more and made friends. I was able to become someone everyone loved to be around (not that I wasn’t already, people just didn’t know me well enough). I had so much fun with high school marching band, I wanted to continue it in college. On Bulldog 101 Day, I met up with Dr. Marty Marks.

Marks, who has been at the college since 2004,  majored in music education because he loved music and thought the degree would be more practical.

“There was no marching band here at AC when I started,” Marks said. “When President Docking came in 2005, he wanted to start one and I was happy to comply. Within two years, we were performing at every home game. We also added pep band for basketball and hockey.”

Marks philosophy is that marching band should be used to make great art for all of the participants and the audience. 

“All of the music education students we have should have the opportunity to work with the band as a laboratory to develop their future skills,” Marks said. “Also, regardless of a students’ major, they should be able to better themselves by engaging as leaders within the band, developing their future people/management/problem-solving skills.”

Marks has been able to offer a full service K-12 music education program to his students. He wouldn’t be able to do it without the marching band. 

“I am very proud of our AC alumni” Marks said. “There are lots of successful music teachers who have graduated in the last 15 years who are having a positive impact all over the country and especially in Michigan.”

With Marks’ humble bragging about his band, he says he’s especially proud of the band’s high quality performance with the “Season of the Sun” show for the Fall ‘19 season. Marks had the opportunity to represent the AC Marching Band in London and Rome during the New Year’s Day parades.

“I am quite happy with the band,” Marks said. “The wonderful students is what makes the band so enjoyable.”

Senior Maddie Tamlyn has been in marching band since she was a freshman in high school. Her marching band was a band of 50 members that competed in the Michigan Competitive Bands Association (MCBA), and performed at home football games.

“My high school band had one show we worked on all season during band class and weekly Tuesday night rehearsals,” Tamlyn said. “Being in the color guard, we rehearsed for three hours on Thursday nights. We were a small band, so we knew each other pretty well. Band was like my extended family at school and it was my favorite part of high school.”

Tamlyn figured band at AC would be similar to band in high school because of its size. She also expected to be challenged and learn new things when joining college marching band.

“College band was a little different than what I was used to because we practice less than when I did in high school,” Tamlyn said. “Even though we practice less, a lot is still required of us. We have to learn two or three shows per season, so I have had to get used to a fast paced environment where everyone must take care of their responsibilities.” 

Marching band helped Tamlyn adjust to college life sooner than most freshman by moving in two weeks earlier. She was able to meet many upperclassmen who could answer questions about college.

“College marching band has given me all of my best friends. All of my roommates and the people I hang out with regularly are or were in band with me,” Tamlyn said. “It gave me a group of people that I can depend on, joke around with, and create an awesome half time show with, just like when I was in high school.”

Tamlyn explains how marching band is always worth her time and effort. She loves the feeling she gets when she performs.

“I love getting a routine just right and performing my heart out. Even though we’re a small band here at Adrian and not everyone watches us during half time, I do band for myself,” Tamly said. “Band is my chance to forget about the chaos of life and just focus on doing something I love. Band is worth my time because it makes me happy.”

Senior Blayk Olsen has been in marching band since his freshman year of high school. Marching band for him has been a good balance of challenging and rewarding himself.

“Coming to college, I had no idea what to expect when going into band,” Olsen said. “I knew it would be similar to what it was in high school.”

Olsen found there to be higher expectations in marching band. With these high expectations, band members were more involved with events on campus. 

“College marching band helped me adjust to the atmosphere,” Olsen said. “I was able to make stronger connections with fellow members and created an addicting atmosphere that I can’t stop being around. It made me who I am today.”

Marching band isn’t all work, we find ways to entertain ourselves during the football games. 

“Alumni Zach Conrad would verbally obliterated the opposing team during games during my freshman year,” Olsen said. “The whole band (mostly low brass) couldn’t stop laughing because of the things said.”

Olsen was given the opportunity to write the second marching band show in the 2018 season. “Writing this show allowed me to open up my creativity for composition,” Olsen said. “That show meant the world to me.”

If I ever had the chance to go back in time and change some things about my life, I would. And that means I would get the chance to relive the best eight years of my life in marching band. I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for the world. They helped me become who I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. 

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