231 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 [email protected] 808.123.4567

Meet the musicians who perform the soundtrack for SU games

first_imgSU’s fight song “Down the Field,” written in 1914, echoes through the Carrier Dome in big moments: former SU guard John Gillon’s buzzer-beater to beat Duke in 2017, senior running back Dontae Strickland’s 13 yard touchdown run to cap off a 30-7 win over Florida State on Sept. 15, and when SU fans flooded the field after beating then-No. 2 Clemson last fall.The Syracuse marching band and pep band have become fixtures at Orange sporting events — the marching band plays at football games, and the pep band at men’s basketball. The marching band formed in 1901 and is one of the oldest bands in the country. It’s among the largest student organizations on campus. Syracuse’s marching band, a staple of the fan experience at the Carrier Dome, features 155 students across more than 85 majors from SU, SUNY-ESF, Onondaga Community College and Le Moyne College. There are 12 instruments in the ensemble, which each spend up to 12 hours per week in rehearsal sessions. They performed before the 2014 Super Bowl and aim to create an electric atmosphere during SU games.“They’ve always been really good and supportive of us,” said Syracuse’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim, who is now coaching his 43rd-year at SU. “It makes it a lot easier for us to be successful on the court.”The actual game “is not the only aspect which inspires fandom and pride and creates identity and community,” Ben Phillips, a cultural sports historian, said in his master’s thesis. “Instead, team histories, nostalgia, stadiums, stadium traditions, fan activities, songs, cheers and geography all play a role.”On game days in the fall, the marching band’s first rehearsal — a two hour run-through — begins six hours before kickoff. It can start as early as 6 a.m. After a quick lunch break, the drumline convenes on the Quad and entertains there, sending percussion beats from Hendricks Chapel to Marshall Street two and a half hours prior to the game. When they finish their set, the whole band marches to the Dome and performs the pregame show.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter lunch, the band suits up in their uniforms — long white socks to cover the ankles, a dri-fit T-shirt and white-and-blue-striped overalls. Shako hats with plumes complete the get-up. The wool uniforms require several layers and can get hot, especially in September’s air-condition-less Dome, band members said.“These guys work their tails off,” SU Band Director Timothy Diem said. “We just don’t stop. From rehearsal and that little break, we don’t stop from two hours in front of the game until at least a half hour after the game.”Bridget Slomian | Presentation DirectorSince Diem’s hiring in 2016, after 11 years as the leader of Minnesota’s band, the two athletic bands’ cultures have changed. Members said it has become more rigorous and detail-oriented under Diem.They drill footwork for hours leading up to every Syracuse football home game, stitching together intricate formations for their pregame and halftime shows. The band uses a program called Pyware to lay out choreography steps in rehearsals. While SU running backs practice precise cuts to escape the backfield, band members lug instruments strapped to themselves as they hit precise yard marks: movements down to one-quarter of a yard, sophomore member Amanda Zall said.“We’ve got our music book and we’ve got our moving book,” Diem said. “You’ve got to learn both. It’s like an offensive and defensive playbook.”The band’s motto, former trombone player Edward Schwering said, is the band always wins. No one keeps score for the band, they’re just there to “get the team hyped, create that atmosphere,” even if the Orange is losing.During the NCAA Tournament, the pep band travels with the men’s basketball team. Sophomore member David Franco recalled a time he sat on the plane near junior guard Tyus Battle, and when he ran into Boeheim in a hotel elevator.“My friend was clearly starstruck,” Franco said. “I was kind of oblivious. ‘David, do you know who that was on that elevator?’ my friend asked me. ‘That was Jim Boeheim.’”Playing for basketball games is different from football games because it’s a more compressed environment and the pep band doesn’t have to move as much. The band can “play to the game even easier,” Diem said. Based on actions in the game, the band has to react and decide which tune to play. If SU hits a 3-pointer, and the opposition calls a timeout to stop the momentum, Diem might direct the band to play an upbeat tune like The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme some Lovin” or The Mooney Suzuki’s “Alive and Amplified.”Beside the SU fight song, the marching band’s favorite songs include DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win,” Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” and Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.”The marching band’s end goal, Diem said, is to appeal to the student section as well as the families with student tickets. One week, they played rock and roll. Another week, they played swing music and the military branch themes for Military Appreciation Day. They also plan to perform The Greatest Showman soundtrack soon.“We try to keep the crowd interested,” Diem said. “And on their feet.” Comments Published on October 18, 2018 at 12:54 am Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *