For The Pride of the Orange, SU’s homecoming weekend was filled with lots of orange love.
Pride members first encountered it Friday evening when they kicked off the weekend with SU’s annual homecoming parade. The Pride held off on performing in its new uniforms and added to the hype about its “new look for a new era.” The band paraded down Waverly and Comstock wearing bright orange shirts that read, “A New Era Begins 10/ 5/ 13.” Then, the SUMB got to work and began rehearsing for the big day that was to follow.
Early Saturday morning, the SUMB unveiled its new uniforms to a select audience. In the stands, sat those who had made it possible for the band to purchase a $150,000 set of first class uniforms. After the uniform donors watched The Pride perform its pregame and halftime shows, they were recognized by Patrick Jones, director of SU’s Setnor School of Music.
Justin Mertz, director of the SUMB, then graciously thanked them— not only for making Pride members look great, but also for making them feel great about what they do. On behalf of his beaming students, he thanked the donors for giving them chance to receive the attention and recognition they deserve as members of one of the country’s top collegiate bands.
On the field, 200 statues suddenly broke the parade rest position they had been holding. The SUMB showed the donors some serious orange love by erupting into applause.
The general public got to see the new uniforms later in the day. As they sparkled in the sunlight, each of the plumes atop the band’s matching navy shakos became a hit— all 14 inches of them. Orange fans also loved the band’s new jackets, which are made of a special orange fabric designed to match the exact Pantone color on the SU football team’s uniforms.
Pride members were thrilled to see that many alumni came to their traditional quad show to support them. The orange love on the quad was heightened as a special performance of the tune, “Hey Baby,” began. Wearing a band uniform to disguise himself, Ryan Giarusso hid among band members on the steps of Hendrick’s Chapel. As The Pride began to play, Ryan cut through the SU dance team and made his way to his fiancé, dance coach, Katie Lappin. He got down on one knee and offered her an engagement ring. Meanwhile, the band sang, “Hey! Hey Katie! I wanna know! Will you be my bride?”
Katie said yes and wrapped her arms around her husband-to-be. As tears of joy streamed down her face, she kissed him, and the crowd roared.
At SU’s first ACC game, The Pride later performed for a crowd of almost 49,000. More fans than usual remained in their seats to watch the band’s halftime show. Though the football team was down by 28 points and Orange fans’ moral was low, cheers filled the Dome as the SUMB strutted its stuff in new uniforms. Orange love was real— not just for the football players, but for their biggest fans.