Out with the old, in with the new

Joel woodsmall
Every day the the marching practices in a basics block. They are on the field by 7 a.m.

At half-time the marching band takes the field in an orderly fashion, no longer running back and forth over the field. The shoes that have been signed by almost every band member since 2001 are being replaced with new shoes for every graduating class of each new year. Drum majors are no longer wearing costumes. These changes are part of Jeffrey Robilliard’s plan for a more professional entrance onto the field as well as a band program that takes a more relaxed approach that puts an emphasis on having fun.

Since Robilliard has taken over from Patrick Kearney, he has done his best to teach everything just about the same as Kearney.  “But with any two teachers no one is ever going to do it exactly the same, because no one should try to be somebody else,” Robilliard said.  “That’s setup for failure.” Kearney’s purple shoes covered in signatures are the embodiment of  the hard work that the marching band puts in throughout the season, they are signed by marching band members who stand out in everyday practice or in events, the graduating senior class signs them as well. Robilliard has kept the original shoes, but now every senior class gets their own shoes to sign adding his own twist on one of the most recognized traditions in marching band.

Over the past two years, the marching band has taking a more controlled entrance onto the field. “We don’t run onto the field because the judges are musical skinheads,” Josh Mullen ’17 said. The changes were due to the fact that the band was losing points at every competition as well as it was incredibly chaotic. Robilliard chose a more orderly method when taking the field because no one wants to play out of breath.

Each section has their own traditions that they uphold, the trumpet section participates in a group deep knee bend, the saxophones do yoga together, but one section stands out because according to Mullen, “drumline is an actual cult.” As one of the closest sections in band due to fact that they put in over three hours of extra practice on top of the regular band practices. “The real extra time comes over the summer,” Evan Kramme ’17 said.

Some practices over the summer can last up to four hours. “We always go to Fazoli’s at least once,” Mark Nagel ’18 said. “We usually do it at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. We get the whole drumline and then try and eat as many breadsticks as we can.” Drumline is also known for their ability to hype up the student section, just like the marching band is known more for their purple shoes and for springing across the field, but changes are being made that will alter these traditions. Many hope for the better.