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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Ashland University band camp overview

AU marching band celebrates 100 years of tradition 
Sean Repuyan
Nearly half of the 70 members in band are non-music majors. Interested students can freely participate in the marching or symphonic bands.

As the start of the fall term approaches, the Ashland University marching band preps for the season with band camp. Although the preparation comes with the usual music, drill and marching practices, this season holds a special occasion and marks 100 years of tradition for the band.  

Entering his seventh season with the band, Director of Bands Joseph Lewis reflects on the value of this significant milestone. 

“I think it’s really a special thing that a university of this size has a successful marching band, especially one that is a hundred years old,” he said. “We’re going to continue tradition on beyond a hundred years.” 

Built on tradition, AU’s band has become a second home for many student musicians and directors throughout its esteemed history. 

“I believe [this milestone] means we’ve had a hundred years of excellence,” said junior Hermalinda Abarca, co-head field commander. “Being in band means having a second family, a family away from home and everyone enjoying music. When you can’t rely on anyone else, you can rely on members in band.” 

“I like seeing people from different walks of life all come together as a family and try to accomplish one common goal,” added junior Thor McDonald, low brass section leader.  

Both Abarca and McDonald focus their efforts on keeping the band organized through events, drills and practices throughout band camp and the rest of the marching season, emphasizing a sense of community, poise and musicality. 

This year, the band has 70 new and returning members, which is up from last year.  

One new member, freshman Molly Coleman, emphasized her excitement to be “part of Ashland’s history.”  

According to Lewis, this season so far has been “exciting and energetic,” with the band being “in a really good place” for the semester. He expects a strong season with a great mix of music for the halftime shows, including Tower of Power, Journey and musicals. 

“If you come out to the games and see the band, you’re going to really enjoy what you hear and see,” he added.  

Additionally, the AU band will be performing its Centuries show for the 100th anniversary celebration on Oct. 7. This performance will be in collaboration with the Ashland High School band, who is also celebrating 100 years. 

Through his enjoyment in college marching band as a student, Lewis hopes to emulate those experiences for his students, building on and expanding their skillsets with different styles and levels of marching and musicality.  

“Music is something that keeps your mind sharp and adds a lot of beauty to the world,” Lewis said. “These students are all in the marching band because they enjoy doing it, and to me, I think that’s what makes it fun.”  

Students do not need to be a music major or minor to participate in symphonic or marching band. More information about the AU band, scholarships or the music department can be found online by contacting [email protected], or by reaching out to Lewis directly.  

“[You] can just sign up and register for [band]. You don’t have to audition to be part of the group. We’ll find a place for you,” Lewis added.  

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