While most students were enjoying their last chance to sleep-in and relax the week before school started, the CSU marching band was up practicing for their upcoming season from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Summer practice was just the beginning of the hundreds of hours the band will spend practicing and playing at CSU athletic games.
For David Dickerson, a senior psychology major and alto-saxophone section leader, the time he spends at marching band is more than that at school and work combined.
Still, he feels the time he puts in is worth it because he enjoys seeing new members get excited about marching band.
“It’s fun to see a group of incoming freshmen who know absolutely nothing about marching CSU style or anything and then see them progress as musicians and marchers under the direction of Dr. (J. Steven) Moore and the section leaders,” Dickerson said.
The CSU marching band has become the largest college marching band in Colorado, and has been under the leadership of Moore for five years.
“He does a good job,” said Kristen Chavez, a sophomore fashion design major and saxophone player in the band. “He’s a strict director, but he gets the job done.”
“He’s the best band director I’ve ever had and his bands are the best bands I’ve ever seen,” he said.
While the marching band members exhibit a great amount of respect for Moore, they also have a comfortable, joking relationship with their director.
Dickerson shows the band’s more relaxed and goofy side, commenting that his favorite part of band is, “Dr. Moore’s puffy marshmallow jacket, as it is a constant source of entertainment.”
It is the relaxed atmosphere that allows many band members to join and enjoy the band.
“It’s a lot of fun, you meet a lot of great people (and) everyone’s really goofy,” Chavez said.
With only 20 percent of its band members as music majors, many students join the band as a release from their day-to-day studies.
“You can’t do math all day, you need an outlet,” Moore said.
While the band members may already be comfortable joking with each other, Moore hopes they can become that way on the field too.
“This year we’re working on a swing show, with a lot of dancing,” Moore said. “It’s a different style for us. In the past we’ve been real precise about everything on the field…we’re trying to loosen up more about it now.”
Marching band may not seem like a contact sport, but at last year’s CSU vs. University of Colorado – Boulder game, CU fans started throwing beer bottles at the CSU marching band members.
“It was highly disappointing,” Moore said. “I’m sure it doesn’t represent CU students as a whole, but it just goes to show there was too much alcohol present at the time.”
Chavez said she is scared and worried about marching and what could happen at this year’s CSU vs. CU game at Folsom Field.
However, Dickerson has a positive outlook on the matter.
“It stunk, but that’s what you have to expect when you play a rivalry. I’m not really surprised their students did that. We’ll just have to wear helmets this time,” Dickerson said.
When the band is not worrying about flying objects heading their way, they are worrying about new ways to get the students cheering and excited at the games.
“We need to be more coordinated in our cheers,” Moore said. “If you go to Florida State, they have the tomahawk thing they do, (sings) ‘Ohh-ooo’. We need something like that at CSU to get the students together more as a whole and be able to actually influence the game some.”
Look for the marching band at their first games this season, Sept. 4 at Folsom field.