I’m Sam Baldwin, and I’m a first-year graduate assistant for the SUMB this season. This will actually be my fifth season with the SUMB; I just graduated from SU in May with a bachelor’s degree in music education, and I am currently pursuing my master’s at SU in both music education and instrumental conducting. From 2008-2010, I was a member of the flute section; in 2008 I was a rookie, in 2009 I was a section leader, and in 2010 I was the music instructor. Last season, in 2011, I had the incredible experience of being one of the drum majors of the SUMB, and it was an opportunity I will always remember.
Over the past four years in the SUMB, I have made memories and formed friendships that will last me a lifetime. Everyone in the band talks about the family-like atmosphere of the SUMB, and it really is true. When I first came to SU as a rookie, I was extremely nervous about leaving my tight-knit family and starting something brand new. It was my first time away from home, I had never been in marching band before, I didn’t know a single person, and I was pretty shy. Within the first few hours of being with the SUMB, I realized that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The welcoming feeling I experienced from the staff, leadership, and members of the band is something I will never forget and have always tried my hardest to reciprocate when meeting new members of the band each season.
I have shared some great experiences with my colleagues while in the SUMB. My freshman year, in 2008, we travelled to Toronto to play a halftime show for a Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins game. In 2010, we marched at the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Last season, in 2011, the SUMB Leadership and Drumline had the opportunity to perform at the Heisman Trophy Gala in NYC. Yet of all my experiences with the SUMB, I would have to say that my favorite one is something we do at every game: run-on. The anticipation and anxiety that build while waiting in the tunnel, hearing tens of thousands of people cheer as the band takes the turf, the sense of camaraderie and pride as everyone works together to make our grand entrance – these are all emotions that could never get old.
One specific memory of the SUMB that will always stick with me comes from last season. Before one of the quad shows, an elderly gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was one of the drum majors. He told me that he was a drum major of the SUMB over 50 years ago. With tears in his eyes, he said to me, “No matter how old you are, you will never forget how much you love this band.”
I’m really looking forward to another great season with the SUMB. I can’t wait to be back with the returning members again, and I’m excited to get to know all of the rookies!