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Parades highlight fall band schedule

The summer sun beats down on the team, causing beads of sweat to drip down their faces. As they endure afternoon practice, water breaks are scarce, and muscles ache from constant use.

But this team is not dressed out in pads and helmets. Nor do they carry rackets or wear kneepads. Instead, this team holds instruments, and as they march in perfect unison, the fruits of their labor can be heard wafting through he air.

The coming of autumn heralds the advent of marching season, and parade preparation is already underway for the campus marching band. Led by director Paul McEntee, the group has been undergoing afternoon, late night, and even early morning practices, laying the groundwork for a successful season.

“We have a young band this year,” McEntee said. “There are a lot of new marchers, but they are catching on quickly. Still, we are practicing our march as many hours as we possibly can.”

Although often dismissed as a simple and undemanding task, marching actually requires a good deal of coordination and physical discipline. Many hours of practice are needed to ensure a good performance.

“Marching is actually really tough,” trombonist Will Hierholzer, ’07, said. “This is my first year, and at first I thought it would be really easy. But I soon realized that it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

Fellow band members share Hierholzer’s viewpoint.

“People always laugh at us when we talk about how hard marching is,” percussionist Elsie Aydelotte, ’05, said. “What they don’t realize is that it really takes a lot of skill. You have to memorize a song and play it flawlessly, all while marching in perfect unison with the rest of the band.”

McEntee agrees that high-quality marching takes dedication.

“Marching is hard work,” McEntee said. “It takes a ton of practice. I mean, we could march for two hours a day, and still not be perfect. As it is, we really do only enough to get by.”

This year, the band is operating under the leadership d first-year drum major Melissa Jimenez, ’05. In her seventh year of band membership, Jimenez has decided to make the transition from follower to leader, in order to prove a point.

“I hope that my being the drum major makes a statement,” Jimenez said. “I want to prove that a girl has what it takes to lead a band.”

In preparation for her new role, Jimenez attended drum major camp at California State University, Fresno, where she took leadership classes and picked up pointers in order to perfect her craft.
The drum major plays a crucial role in the band, providing leadership that is second only to that of the band director. In this role, Jimenez has the power to dole out punishment to insubordinate marchers.

“It’s fun to be able to ?correct’ people,” Jimenez said. “But it feels weird to be in charge of all my friends, and tell them what to do.”

The duties of the drum major include preserving respect and discipline within the band, keeping time as they march, saluting the judges, and accepting awards on behalf of the band. In order to successfully fulfill these duties, the drum major must be live up to a high standard.

“I chose Melissa to be our drum major because she showed the most interest and passion towards the role,” McEntee said. “She puts in a lot of work, and she is able to lead the band with a great combination of authority and humility.”

The band will be marching in their first parade Sept. 27, during the Caruthers Fair.

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