Band students express love for marching


Jason Howell

The Panther Marching Band stands ready to breaking into music during the Panthers’ home game against Southern Illinois-Carbondale on Sept. 6, 2014.

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

It’s a Saturday morning and people all over campus were preparing for the home game that the football team was playing that day.

The Panther Marching Band is on their way for their first rehearsal of the day so they can run through the show they will be putting on when its time for the game.

Every Saturday morning when there is a home game, the marching band practices.

Nick Appleby, a junior finance major, leads the marching band as the drum major during practices and performances.

“Once the big TV plays our video we call the band to attention and we start pre-game,” Appleby said.

When the band exits the field after their pre-game performance, they go to the stands and start playing music and doing cheers.

The more popular songs and cheers done during the games is the fight song, “Panther War Chant,” and “Hot Time.”

The marching band plays the “Alma Mater” during the games too, and will often play the fight song at the end of the game.

Appleby said he has been playing in school bands since he was in fifth grade and has been part of the Panther Marching Band since he was a freshman.

Appleby said he loves the crowds’ reaction he gets to see during the home games.

“We’re there to entertain so I love when crowds are reacting to what we’re playing weather its something as simple as the fight song all the way up to ‘Uptown Funk’,” Appleby said.

James Hile, the director for the marching band, said he enjoyed seeing how many people gathered outside listening to the band play before they marched over to the field.

“I would like to make it into a mini pep rally and attract more students,” Hile said.

The marching band practices on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for scheduled class periods and they have extra practices on days when they have home games.

Their Saturday practices can be at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. based on the time of the game that day.

The marching band has been working on songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the theme song from “Zorba the Greek” and the “Magical Mystery Tour” fanfare by The Beatles.

The marching band will also be learning the theme song for the Pink Panthers dance team for their 50-year anniversary.

Hile said the marching band would also be learning new songs for Homecoming weekend.

“The band is doing a music progression from the last 100 years,” Hile said. “We’re going to learn the hit song from 1915 and other hit songs from the past.”

Appleby said other potential plans for Homecoming weekend are the possibility of a family band tailgate, but all plans that are not tradition are up in the air.

Devonn DeLong, a sophomore music education major, has played tenor drums on the drum line since he came to Eastern.

DeLong said he likes the friendships he has made through the marching band.

“You can’t compare the friendships here to anything else because it’s just so much better and so much deeper than anything else that I’ve ever had with any other people,” DeLong said.

The drum line schedules their rehearsals around their class practices; DeLong said sometimes the drum line will practice before or after class, but sometimes they get class time for a sectional.

Appleby said sometimes the outside practices can be hot and muggy but the energy and morale usually stays pretty high.

“We’re all blistering out in the sun wanting water and we will go get water and we come back and say ‘oh the heat,’ but we keep pushing through,” Appleby said.

Whether or not the football team wins a game, the marching band is still there to keep the morale of the fans up and energy going.

“Whether they do well or not I’m still a panther and I’ll still cheer for them,” DeLong said.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or @[email protected]