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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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EMU Marching Band heads into its 129th season with high enrollment numbers

The EMUMB is on track to having more than 170 members this season.

This year marks the 129th season of Eastern Michigan University’s Marching Band (EMUMB). Despite the university’s enrollment numbers gradually decreasing, the marching band’s enrollment numbers have seen an increase this school year.

“While this is not the largest enrollment in the history of the EMU Marching Band, it still represents a significant achievement that, while the university’s enrollment has been gradually decreasing, our enrollment is spiking. We are up 70% since COVID-19 (2020),” EMU’s Marching Band Director, J. Nick Smith said.

In 2019, the marching band’s enrollment stood at 153. In 2020, that number decreased to 101. In the current year, however, enrollment for the band has reached 170, with the possibility of that number increasing as the university heads into the fall 2023 semester.

"The marching band is a team-based organization that operates with a variety of staff, graduate students, and faculty,” Smith said. “It takes the full force of all of these individuals for our organization to be successful and fulfill the roles we have accepted as ambassadors for EMU, our alumni, and our football team.”

Beginning Aug. 18, leaders of the marching band will attend Leadership Camp. This two-day camp provides an opportunity for these students to train, learn and engage in leadership discussions and activities. Following that is Band Camp beginning Aug. 20-27. It is done as “3-a-days,” going from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students work as a unit through fundamentals as they learn the traditional EMU Marching Band style, their pregame show and their first halftime show. 

There are six total halftime shows throughout the season. 

Once all camp activities conclude, practice for these musicians are every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m.  

"The marching band is one big unit. In order for us to put on our best performances and have good representation of the band, it’s important that all members show up and give their best at every practice, show, and appearance," Abigail Dunn, an alto section leader of the marching band, said.

Throughout the school year, the public can expect to see multiple performance events by the band. This includes the High School Band & Twirler Day, Marchathon, Alumni Marching Band/Homecoming, Behind the Curtain, Dress Rehearsal celebrating 45 Years of Jazz at WEMU and Band O’ Rama. 

“Being in this band to me means being a part of a shared experience,” Olivia Mitchell, a drum major in the marching band, said. “We all create music and perform a spectacle for our audience, but we also share a bond with each other that can last a lifetime. It’s not just about the shows, it’s about the community we build as well.”

EMUMB is open to all EMU and Washtenaw Community College students. If interested in joining, students can sign up on the band's website, EMUMB.org

“There truly is no other organization on EMU’s campus that compares to the hard work and dedication we put into this program,” MacKenon Tyrrell, twirler section leader of the marching band, said. “It is a family, and to me, it means having a home away from home where I can be a part of a community that encourages me and pushes me to my goals while doing something I love.”