Stepping Off with Mr Bud – week #6 introduces some shore students who are part of their college marching band programs.

Dylan Sidali (Bud McCormick)

Dylan Sidali – Stevens Institute of Technology

My name is Dylan Sidali, I’m a sophomore studying Computer Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, and I play in the Stevens Jazz Band. Playing music has been my favorite hobby ever since I first picked up the saxophone in the 6th grade. When I got to high school, I realized that playing in a musical ensemble was a great way to make friends and connect with people while doing something that can be both fun and rewarding. In college, it’s the same thing for me.

It’s easy to become stressed or run-down because of a heavy academic workload, so being able to sit down, relax, and just play some music for a few hours each week is invaluable.

In our jazz band we put on a different show at the end of each semester, so we spend the majority of our rehearsal time practicing and deciding what pieces to play. Typically, we’ll learn and perform 20-25 songs per show, so we get the chance to be exposed to a lot of different music and styles. Rehearsal is a great environment as well, everyone’s there to destress and have a good time playing music, so it’s easy to joke around and just have fun with it. For me, the best part about playing in a jazz band is how much room for creativity there is.

There are so many different styles of jazz, and being able to improvise a solo is a chance to offer your own interpretation of the piece to anyone who wants to listen.
I’d definitely recommend that people continue to play music in college. If you’re passionate about playing, and you enjoy learning new music, there’s no reason to stop! Plus, you might even find people who are just as passionate as you are.

Jacob Moore (Bud McCormick)

Jacob Moore

I am in the University of Delaware The Fightin' Blue Hens band because I love the activity, and being a part of a larger organization is a ton of fun.

It is absolutely tough, the hours are long and its physically and mentally demanding, but the end result is extremely rewarding. Therefore, I highly recommend it regardless of which University you attend.

Our tuba section (AKA Blue Thunder) is a hilarious group of people. We have tons of jokes that are extremely over used, and because of that they have become hilarious again.
In High School, things are more laid out for you. In college, your independence becomes very apparent, and it becomes your responsibility alone to make sure you are on top of everything.

Lauren Platt (Bud McCormick)

Lauren Platt
West Chester University

I really loved doing marching band in high school and I am studying music education in college so I can work with a marching band in the future so being in band in college was a no brainer.

It is really tough and can be draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our practices are only two hours for three days a week so they can be really stressful trying to clean as much as week can in that time. However, being in marching band is the best decision I've ever made about college so far. I love every person in the organization and I am in love with the shows that we've done so far and the places that I've been able to travel to because of it.

We just marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC last November and that whole trip was my favorite band experience so far! We were able to have free time in the city, see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and march in one of the most famous parades in the world. I was also among a selected group of people to play on Fox with Friends which was an amazing experience!

Another cool story that I have is from this year, we got to play the Pregame and Halftime show at a Pittsburgh Steelers football game which is an amazing opportunity to begin with but we found out about 5 minutes after getting off the field that Ariana Grande was at the game and put videos of us on her Snapchat Story. Everyone was freaking out!!!

We also have this tradition in the band where during the fourth quarter of the football game, the trombone section plays the "Superman" theme and the tuba section lifts a person up in the air Superman style and walks them across the front of the stands. I was able to be Superman at the past football game and it was seriously the best minute and a half of my life, it was so exciting!!

Eric Pearce Liebenthal (Bud McCormick)

Eric Pearce Liebenthal
I'm in band because this activity has done so much for me as a person over the years. To see the fire that thrives within my friends, but most importantly my students, keeps me going and has ensured that this was the career path I wanted to take. 11/10 times I will always recommend that students join band. You find out so much about yourself as a individual and a musician.

As far as being a music education major, I suggest you only become a music educator if you know for a fact that teaching was meant for you. If there's one thing schools don't need any more of, it's educators who don't breathe the same fire to see their students succeed in any field. It's by far one of the hardest things I've ever done, but the pay off is completely worth it.

Most recently the marching band performed at the opening day Steelers game for pre-game and half time. We also performed an exhibition performance at a Pittsburgh Bands of America (BOA) show. In news to come, WCU Wind Ensemble will be performing at Carnegie Hall in the Spring as well as taking a trip to China in 2018. I can definitely say without hesitation that it's different than high school, but different isn't a bad thing.

It's essentially an experience that throws you out into the real world to start over. We as students become so complacent to the people around us from our childhood through high school to the point where it's hard to interact with new people around you. Truthfully, I love college way more because it has opened up endless possibilities for my future and has given me so many friends and connections. Regardless of the fact that I'm a student here at WCU, I would highly recommend this university for any student. It took me some time to realize it, but I would much rather be here than any other school