Marching band steps it up

Kevin Gareau

Junior music education major Matt Farkas and sophomore computer science major Mark Chesnes look at their music before joining the rest of the band. ABRA WILLIAMS-WITZKY | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors


The band falls into formation. A cheer of “Go Kent!” is shouted loudly on the director’s order. The band hoists its instruments and begins to play “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

This is a typical practice for Kent State’s Marching Golden Flashes as they prepare for the football team’s home opener Sept. 15 at Dix Stadium.

Scott Curfman, director of athletic bands, said the marching band has 110 members. They play at all home football games, and they will be performing at the away games at the University of Akron and Ohio State.

Gina Teti, junior German major and one of the members of the office staff for the band, said the marching band is a fairly large commitment.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, cymbals crash and drums boom as the band practices on the field next to the Music and Speech Center.

The band also meets four and a half hours before every home game to rehearse.

Teti said the toughest part of being in the marching band is the physical aspect.

“If they call cheerleading a sport, then this is definitely a sport,” Teti said.

Curfman said the band is currently preparing for the first home game of the season on Sept. 15. Teti said the show will be patriotic and will include an armed forces medley, including “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.” In addition, all shows this season will open with the James Bond theme.

Teti said one major difference between high school and college marching band is the student field commanders.

“The students are in charge of a lot more in college,” she said.

Renee Hill, senior American sign language major and one of the field commanders, explained what the field commanders are in charge of.

“We basically run music rehearsals, teach and conduct the band on the field,” Hill said.

Curfman said in addition to the football games this year, the marching band has some other big events, such as the Homecoming Extravaganza and the indoor concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 in the M.A.C. Center.

The first home game of the season will also be Band Day for the marching band, Curfman said. Six high school marching bands will come in, rehearse with the band and play with them before the game and during halftime.

Curfman said one of the major time commitments was band camp.

“We came in Aug. 3, 4 and 5 and worked on music only, which included seven pieces of music for pre-game and 14 pieces we use at halftime,” Curfman said.

He said the entire band reported back Aug. 18. During camp, the band rehearsed three times a day, nine hours a day for a week.

Curfman said that early in the camp the field was too muddy for the band to practice on, so they had to move into the field house.

“On those days, we started practicing early in the afternoon, and then went into the field house from 9 p.m. to midnight,” he said.

Curfman said there are a few spots in the band that are still open, but those interested in joining the band would be better off waiting until the spring.

Contact safety reporter Kevin Gareau at [email protected].