Special Thanks to:
Brett Fortnam and Joseph Schell
If you didn’t get the chance to pick up an SUMBulletin before leaving campus or if you live a little farther from Crouse than some of us, here is the electronic version of Volume 2 of the Bulletin.
Letter from the Editor
by Brandon “the Mandon” Lane
I’m proud to inform you of and present to you Volume II of the SUMBulletin. Although smaller, this year’s publication has plenty to offer. From a freshman’s amazing and unforgettable first year experience to a senior’s remarks about being the drum major, read about the traditions of the SUMB and the experiences of its members.
Inside is a view of one of the band’s most visual sections and a champion’s recap of his quest for the Golden Dinkle. Brought to you solely by SUMB members and its affiliates, this publication is what I hope becomes a way to inform the world about such a great and wonderful marching band program.
Simply the Tuba Man
by Morgan “Tuba Man” Edwards
“How can you play tuba? It’s so big!” Being a tuba player, I’m asked this question quite frequently. Although other, more pretentions, sections may claim that their barks are sore from “carrying the band,” our backs are actually sore. But rarely will I stop to ask myself, “is it all worth the pain?” Because as I look back on what the tuba section is, I can honestly say that it is definitely worth it.
The SUMB tuba section is one of the smallest sections in the band but features one of the most diverse groups of people one can find. We are almost split evenly by gender, cover a variety of majors from music education to fashion design and engineering, and have a range of personalities to match. Even though we are all so different, we really mesh with each other. The tuba section can often be seen before and after practice cuddling or napping together. Though we may play one of the heaviest instruments, it’s also one of the best instruments. Not only does the sousaphone’s sound soothe the soul, but it’s easy to have fun with. This year our section created some of the best dances to some of our new pieces. These dances can’t be mimicked by any other section, which makes them even better.
I also enjoy playing tuba because of all the excitement it brings. People watching the band’s performances always become more excited whenever they see us. We have probably been in dozens of pictures with people we don’t actually know, solely because of the instrument we play. And to be honest, we love all the attention we get from random passersby. We’re the section that runs across the field and humps up and down. While the rest of the band is marching off the field after our pregame or halftime show, we always run around the field behind the band, and the crowd always loves it. I suppose just the sight of people running with such big instruments makes people really happy. While others are concerned about looking uniform, the tubas are focused on having fun with an instrument some would call a burden, but what I could call one of the reasons I enjoy band as much as I do.
View from the Podium
by Sam “Not Brickfield” Baldwin
The drum major is views as the prime figure of the marching band, someone to whom the band, as a whole, looks to for guidance and leadership. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that “great power involves great responsibility.” A truer statement could not be made about the duties of the drum major, both on and off the field.
In my opinion, a great drum major has two significant characteristics. First, he or she must be an outstanding musician. THis starts with being able to keep time and conduct in a clear patter. The SUMB drum majors practice conducting for countless hours even before the season starts so that they can arrive at rehearsal prepared and ready to make music with their colleagues in the most efficient way possible. Unlike some other bands, the SUMB drum majors are not only given the opportunity to conduct the band on the field but also in the stands during football games and in rehearsals. While this is a great experience, it requires many extra hours of memorization and score study. Aside from conducting, the drum majors are also given the opportunity at times to rehearse the band in sectionals; this requires them to have fairly proficient rehearsal skills – knowing what to listen for and knowing what kind of overall sounds and emotions he or she wants to evoke from the ensemble.
A great drum major must also, arguably more importantly, exemplify a person of excellent character. When I think of descriptors that come to mind when I hear the words “drum major,” the first is always “role model.” As a drum major, one should constantly strive to be someone whom other members of the band can look up to both on and off the field. Having a positive, enthusiastic attitude about the band and life in general will help motivate the other members of the band to strive for excellence in all areas. In the SUMB, the drum majors have the job of being some of the very first people whom new members meet upon their arrival to Syracuse University. For many freshmen, it is their first time away from home, and it can be extremely comforting to know that they have someone who will be there for them as both a mentor and a friend; it can make the transition to college a lot smoother.
Above all, the main goal of the drum major should be to put the needs of the band before his or her own. One of the things I love about marching band is that is requires each individual to work together and possibly make sacrifices in order to benefit the whole; this all starts with the actions of the drum major. Speaking from personal experience, having the opportunity to be one of the drum majors of the SUMB was one of the very best experiences of my life and something I will never forget. It has allowed me to give back to an organization that has given me so much. Conducting at Quad shows, the exciting rush of run-on, the exhilarating feeling of performing in front of tens of thousands of fans in the Carrier Dome – those were all wonderful experiences, but what will stick with me more than anything is the camaraderie that I developed with my peers in the band. I could not be more proud to have helped lead the 2011 SUMB.
Concentration, Sweat, and Gold
My Quest for the Golden Dinkle
by Jon “Dinklemaster” Gesicki
At the end of every Syracuse University Marching Band (SUMB) season, the annual tradition of the quest for the Golden Dinkle is held at rehearsal. The Golden Dinkle is a march-off that includes the entire band. Before the march-off begins, all 200+ members are split up into eight groups. The beginning rounds of the Golden Dinkle aren’t that difficult. Drum Majors Brickfield, Baldwin, and Hylkema all gave a pretty easy routine for the marchers in the block. With 200+ people participating in the Golden Dinkle, the first couple rounds are heard for the judges to catch mistakes from the band members. If a band member makes a mistatke, they must be hoest and leave the march-off block. As soon as all wight groups have a specific number of members remaining, the groups are formed into one new group. the Drum Majors begin to increase the tempo of the marching and introduce more complex maneuvers to the march-off. If your brain isn’t working on GOlden Dinkle day, you’re toast.
At last, it was the “quarter finals” round. It was Rachel Quam, a girls who I began marching with in the trombone section four years ago; Ross Hecht, a world class champion marcher; Charles Sullivan, a trumpet player who was a strong marcher as well; and me. The four of us battled it out for a solid ten minutes. Finally Sam Brickfield was able to get both Ross and Charles out for going too far on a turn move.
I had made it to the final round. Rachel Quam with a tuba and myself with a trombone. The tempo was going at least 200, if not more, beats per minute. Two large instruments flying around the field. Sweat was pouring down our faces, and the concentration was at a maximum. Sam Baldwin was south out commands every second. We were doing a forward move when Sam Baldwin inserted 5 or 6 back-to-back turn commands. It came to the final turn. I went forwards and Rachel went backwards towards the rest of the band members. All I could hear was a cry of “Oh!” from the band members anxiously waiting for a winner. I stared at Mr. Mertz in disappointment, thinking I had come this far and lost. Sam Baldwin called us to a halt. Then they congratulated me. I gave Rachel a hug and told her “excellent job,” especially because she had done this brutal, yet fun, march-off with a heavy tuba on her shoulders.
Mr. Mertz wrote my name on the bottom of the dinkle. He presently the dinkle to me and praised my marching ability. This is the second year in a row that a Lancaster High School graduate has won the award Dana Jaskier was the recipient last year. I am proud of my marching technique and ability. My four years with the SUMB was will worth it and enjoyable to say the least. I am glad I could leave a mark on the field.
A Rookie’s Perspective
by Laura “The New One” Walton
My first year as part of the Syracuse University marching Band was an amazing experience. Marching band is something that I have always participated in; starting in high school from the time I was 12 years old, until the age of 16. I had some amazing experiences with that band, led by band director who was a Syracuse University graduate and a former member of the SUMB. We even yelled “pride” when we were called to attention just as the SUMB does. Some of my fondest memories from the band took place in the Carrier Dome at the New York State Field Band Championships. I remember seeing the SUMB perform their “Thriller” show and “Single Ladies.” I wanted to be a part of an ensemble like the one I saw at Syracuse University. The performances by the SUMB at the NYSFBC definitely led me to join.
From the moment that I arrived on campus I saw smiling, and happy individuals. After the long car ride, it was so nice to be greeted with kindness. Members of the band were so helpful and friendly. It was incredible to me that not only was I helped with the beginning process of getting to the dome and getting my uniform, but that I was also taken to my dorm and shown to my room. The helpfulness and generosity of the members of the band was one of the first things I notice upon my arrival at campus.
The rehearsals were always productive and the outcome of the productivity was amazing to me. I found that I was happy to go to rehearsal because compared to the rest of my day it was fun. I would get to see friends, play music, and be a part of something bigger than myself. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever to have rehearsals in the dome. What one of my friends from home could say that they’d lounged on the turf of the Carrier Dome? The professional attitude of the ensemble and the drive of Professor Mertz made huge achievements possible. I remember the first time we did high step run-on. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen and was very scared that I was going to fall on my face. High stepping down the field, I felt like I must have loked like a total idiot, but it was so much fun that I stopped caring. The other members around me were having so much fun, it was infectious and pretty soon I was laughing and having a great time too. I never imagined that I would have fun doing such a thing but the atmosphere and the people made it possible. And I must say the outcome was pretty cool to watch.
Game days are the best, from the quad show to dancing and marching down to stadium control to performing the pregame and half time show. One of the most memorable things about my freshman year will always be game days. I guess it was mainly just the togetherness of everything. Toughing through the early morning rehearsals as a team until the end of the game was such an amazing feeling of togetherness. I love how connected I felt to all the other members when we would put our arms around each other and sing the alma mater. The feeling of community that I have gained through my participation in the band is hard to describe.
I can now say that I have more close friends than I ever had. Not just friends but real friends. They are there through the think and thin and aren’t going to just walk away when you need them. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t met some of these incredible individuals. They have helped me so much whether it was homework, advice, or something that I needed. The friends that I made this year through the SUMB are ones I know I will keep for life. I know that it is corny and cliche, but being a part of the organization is really like being adopted into another family. You have the people who you adore and the people who drive you crazy, but at the end of the day we are all there to help each other grow. I can’t imagine a better experience for any freshman at Syracuse University than to be a part of this amazing organization.
SUMB for Life
by Tom “The Judge” Millas
As a freshman, I always thought that I would be a member of the SUM for all 4 years of my undergraduate college career. The reasons why I became so attached to our marching band are seemingly endless, and it has been one of the greatest decisions of my life to join as a member of the trombone section. As a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, I furthered my relationship with the SU bands through service and leadership, and there seemed to be no stopping my commitement to being a valuable band member. As my senior year approached in 2011, thought, I came to the harsh realization that my class schedule and internship requirements would have to take precedence over the SUMB, and I had to make the difficult decision to hang up my shako, uniform, and instrument for my last year at Syracuse.
Initially, I was extremely nervous to be leaving the SUMB. After all, most of my best friends and memories had been developed from band, and how could I leave that lifestyle with only one year left before I graduated? I thought long and hard about how I could maintain the “magic” of being a band member, and finally something clicked. Being a member of the SUMB is not just about showing up to rehearsals, cheering on the SU Football team, or marching in local parades. Instead, it is a lifestyle that doesn’t disappear as soon as you leave the band. While I may not be in the SUMB anymore, I have developed a way for me to be just as involved and committed as before, and I’m convinced that it has made my 3 years in the band that much more valuable to me. For the 2011 season, I became a Field Assistant, which allowed me to help with equipment during all of the SUMB’s shows but also gave me the opportunity to positively represent the band both on and off the field.
As a Field Assistant, I could still maintain my valuable connections with friends and faculty in the SUMB, but my outsider’s perspective gave me the view I needed to see just how amazing this band truly is. The SUMB has a level of professionalism and loyalty that is rivaled by few other student organizations on campus, and the fact that I could still contribute to the band as a non-member was one of the most regarding aspects of my college career. I can’t wait to see where the SUMB goes from here, and as I become an alumnus of SU and begin my career, I have great hope that the Syracuse University Marching Band will remain as one of the best collegiate bands in the country.
Rookie to Leader
by Ashley “UCONN fan?” Orifice
Being a rookie in the SUMB is an experience that I will never forget. I walked onto the turf after saying goodbye to my parents with a combination of excitement and fear of the unknown. Less than a minute later I was in college. From then on, I was the little one and my vets and section leaders went out of their way to make sure my experience was a great one. As a rookie, I thought I had learned all of the ins and outs as the season passed: don’t be late to morning rehearsal, don’t eat a ton of food right before run on, and most importantly – hide your free stuff from the quad in your shako. I personally loved not having to make any decisions. Every song I played was new and exciting. I had people to look up to if I ever had a question about anything. I’m almost positive that being a rookie is the best gig in the band.
With both section leaders graduating, I got placed as music instructor for the 2011 season. It was only my sophomore year, and I was honestly pretty scared. It was a really strange experience going from the person who looked up to the section to being on of the leaders of a group of rookies the size of my old section. I learned very quickly that I had no idea what really went on while I was a rookie. It was a lot of unexpected pressure knowing that I was the one responsible for making my rookies experience great. I didn’t realize how responsible I would feel for making sure they got home okay and figured out the campus. I thought it would be easy to come up with a little pregame speech spur of the moment for the section. I forgot that all of the traditions that my section holds had to be continued by me.
Getting thrown into this position while I was still learning myself was quite an experience. I was still an underclassman, still figuring out my place in the band, and still learning how to help our section grow. I came to love my section because throughout the year, we figured things out together. The leadership, our only vet, and rookies all taught each other about music, band, and friendship. We helped each other out with learning parts, setting an memorizing drill, and getting to rehearsal on time. The year as a whole was eye opening and let me see the SUMB from an entirely new perspective. It showed me that being a leader and a role model is important, but it is even more important to create an atmosphere that makes the people in your section really want to be there. It took me a while to figure it out, but it became clear to me that my section was quite a team. Each person brought their own unique creativity and energy to the group and it allowed us to become not only friends, but one baritone family. It made me appreciate my vets from my rookie year because they showed me the way. They showed me what kind of culture a section should have and what the real purpose of a vet and a section leader is. Marching band is not just about putting shows on a field to entertain people while the football team downs some Gatorade. It’s about growing as a person, learning to better yourself, and becoming someone that others can trust. The SUMB has taught me so much already and I cannot wait to see what the next two years have to bring.