For some, band means a family

William Miles

Although nine hours of group practice and losing weekends to performances may seem excessive for just two units, the 100-plus-member Sacramento State marching band’s close-knit community and passion for music keep them motivated to keep on marching.

Marvin Reed, a sophomore sociology major and one of the drum majors for the band, said it’s the people.

“The people keep me here,” Reed said. “Just me being in front of them, leading them and guiding them through this journey is why I keep coming back.”

As drum major, he is responsible for visually providing the tempo of the music for the entire marching band to ensure they are all in unison. If one was watching a performance, he would be the one in front of everyone being very animated with his arms.

Reed has been playing music since fourth grade, and has been a drum major for the marching band for the last two years.

“As their leader I love performing for (the band),” Reed said. “I love pulling them and asking for more and they give it to me.”

One aspect marching band students said motivated them was the family atmosphere.

“We have our crazy uncles, our brothers and sisters over there,” said Reed. “It’s one big family full of so much diversity – I love it.”

Brien Gadeke, a junior music education major who plays the baritone, said it’s a “close-knit group.”

“We are all friends,” Gadeke said. “We have a 100-plus band, and I know everyone in it.”

Gadeke said the marching band helped introduce him to a lot of new friends.

“When I first came here my freshman year I didn’t know anybody,” Gadeke said, “I joined marching band, and instantly (had) my Facebook friends double in a week from all the people in marching band. I still talk to most of them even though they are not in the band anymore because they graduated or left. Almost all of my friends are in marching band.”

Gadeke said he hopes his experience in Sac State’s marching band will help him teach other marching bands in the future.

“I want to teach high school students,” Gadeke said. “I want my main focus to be field shows and marching because they are my passion.“

Gadeke said he has already written what his first show would be and what songs he will be incorporating into it.

Kelly Dufour, a junior liberal studies major and captain of the color guard, said her motivation to come every day is the people.

As a member of the color guard team, Dufour performs visual presentations on the field that range from flags, rifles and even sabers.

“I actually enjoy what we do,” Dufour said. “I love getting the chance to perform and work with younger aspiring members that want to be a part of it – to do something that they enjoy doing and helping them keep going with it.”

Dufour said she hopes to be a fourth grade teacher once she graduates.

“I guess (the marching band) pulls out the teacher in me,” Dufour said.

One of the things Dufour hopes to get out the marching band is the experience of teaching younger people.

“I often get the opportunity to work with people that are younger or around my age, and I feel like I really get the opportunity to learn about younger people and be able to better teach students,” Dufour said. “I feel like I get a lot of real life experience being able to teach even though it is not specifically in the classroom. It still takes skill and patience and preparation to work with so many people.”

Dufour said the stereotypes that are often associated with marching band members aren’t true.

“I want people to realize how good of a group of people it is and that I don’t feel any of them fit into a certain stereotype,” Dufour said. “There is such wide diversity of people.”

Reed said he invites everyone interested in the marching band to give it a try.

“I think people should really look into the marching band as a way to get involved and meet new people and try something new,” Reed said. “We accept all here. It’s a family, we’ll bring you in and treat you like family. Look into doing marching band if you need a class or have free time.”

William Miles can be reached at [email protected]