Marching band takes the turf


At college and high school football games people usually equate halftime with a marching band performance.

At Missouri Western it is no different. The energetic Griffon Marching Band (GMB) takes the stage for every home football game.

The marching band has made some changes and evolved from the 50-member ensemble it started out with 35 years ago under the direction of Bill Mack.

“This year we changed the style to more of a drum corps,” Jeffery Hinton, director of the marching band said. “We are evolving to more popular shows, and we want to match the visual to the music.”

The new shows will feature songs by Santana, Elvis and the Beatles. At the game on Saturday, Sept. 9, the band performed Earth, Wind and Fire songs for the main show.

With 118 members, the band is headed toward a great season. This season, the percussion section is much larger and as been nationally recognized.

“Dr. [Dennis] Rogers is a great recruiter for the section,” Hinton said. “They performed at national competitions and placed in the top three.”

This year the band is working up to the greater St. Louis Marching Festival on Oct. 10. This is a big festival where the GMB was invited to be a part of the exhibition.

“We will perform before the announcement of the awards for the festival,” Daniel Kirk, drum major for the band said. “We will be performing for about 4,000 people and will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the band.”

Going to the festival this year is a big deal for the band. Other schools that were invited, such as the University of Missouri and Truman State University, have bands that number from 250-300 members. The GMB members are excited about going to the festival.

Kirke was in the drum line for three years before assuming his new role this year as drum major.

The band started their hard work at band camp a week before classes began. During band camp, the members learned Western’s marching band style. Hinton stated that since the GMB members come from all different schools, one of the focuses of the band camp is to break them of old marching habits and lay down the foundation for great shows. During band camp, the members put in 34 hours of practice time to prepare for the season.

These foundations lead to the band getting national nods and invitations to prestigious festivals.

Hinton listed the main goals for the band this season.

“Accomplishment, because we work hard,” Hinton said. “And to provide experience for future band directors.”

Aside from the rigors of band camp, GMB members have plenty of fun– building friendships along with making music. Sophomore Brandy Donelson said that the fun part of being in the band is, “Getting to be out with people you know, and cheering on the team.”

Kirk also has positive statement about being a drum major for the band.

“Aside from all the responsibilities and pressure, it’s great to work with all sections of the band,” Kirk said.

After the band’s first performance on Saturday, Kirk and Hinton commented on marching on the new turf.

Marching band

“Its different marching on the turf,” Kirk said. “It is great because in all weather we can practice and the uniforms stay cleaner.”

Kirk also said that the band is able to have cleaner drills, and it is easier for them to march in the turf instead of long grass.

“It’s a lot smoother for the players to march on. They don’t have to worry about falling,” Hinton said. “The new field makes it easier for everyone.”

He also said that since the markings on the field are permanent, it is easier for the band to practice on.

“It is just like marching indoors on carpet,” Hinton said.

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