This article was originally featured in The Echo, our student newspaper. Written by Hailey Willett ’16.
This fall, the The University of Olivet community can look forward to more than just the sound of bright carillon chimes across campus.
After more than 30 years of silence, a loud buzz of excitement among students, staff and alumni has been generated by the return of the The University of Olivet Marching Comets.
Director of Bands Jeremy Duby has especially taken note of the “electric energy on campus that’s been missing.”
After working to develop the nine-member athletic band into a 27-member marching band – a remarkable 200 percent growth since first undertaking his position in 2013 – Duby anticipates the marching band having a “much larger role in game day” this fall, beginning with leading the football team down to The Cutler Event Center, pumping up tailgaters with musical cheers and performing both a pregame and halftime show performance.
For students like junior Nicholas Harmon, the opportunity to continue participating in marching band at a collegiate level, and become a member of an organization that is a fast-growing focal point of school pride across campus, has been a large draw.
“I was eager to join the band because the band was small, and l wanted to be a part of its growth,” said Harmon, who plays the trumpet.
Throughout the course of their college careers, several upperclassmen have also witnessed the athletic band grow steadily in strength by numbers and musicianship, which gave root to the new marching band; however, only two seniors are lucky enough to partake in the long-awaited rebirth this year, having been a part of athletic band since their freshman year.
This past Saturday was senior Emily Cusack’s first halftime show performance in nearly four years, and she is grateful to finally have the chance to leave everything on the field for one last season.
“It means so much to me to be able to perform on the field for one more season. I feel like this is one of the greatest graduation gifts I have ever received,” said Cusack, who plays the mellophone.
Recent graduate Kelly Patmore ’14 looks forward to cheering from the stands this season as a proud former athletic band member.
“I am so proud to see the direction of the program, as well as the enthusiasm and dedication that its members have,” said Patmore, a former trumpet-player in the athletic band, in an email response. “Saturdays are going to be special in Olivet.”
Performing music from the Blues Brothers this year – a theme drawn from the inspiration of Jake Blues’ character dialogue in the 1980 film, “we’re putting the band back to together,” – the Marching Comets made their debut at the football team’s home opener against Earlham College (Ind.) Saturday, Sept. 5, where the team nabbed its first season victory, 74-13.
For information about the Marching Comets and upcoming fall performances, visit the “The University of Olivet Bands” official Facebook page.