Group grows and looks to improve

December 1, 2011
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fraser Caldwell

Sports Editor


They’ve long been a constant presence at sporting events and special functions across campus, but the McMaster marching band is intent on making that presence felt much more this year.

The group has embarked on a program of improvement and expansion that has seen them don professional uniforms, hire section-specific instructors and greatly enlarge their schedule of appearances.

According to the group’s Vice President of Promotions Ashley Capon, the band’s overhaul is the result of a long-held goal to produce a larger and more professional organization.

“One of the main goals that we had as a band was to be a bigger group that students could look to for a sense of pride and a symbol of their university,” said Capon. “We wanted to grow. With our uniforms, we wanted people to be able to look at us and visually see that we’re expanding and doing better.

“We’ve got new instructors for music, our colour guard and our drum line. That’s all part of having a better sound and getting bigger.”

The cosmetic upgrades that the marching band has undergone have been designed to mimic the appearance of American college groups, whose well-honed sound the McMaster outfit soon hopes to match.

Capon believes that the new uniforms have borne immediate benefits for the band, and signals its drive to improve.

“We looked at our performances of years past and even at Homecoming this year when the uniforms hadn’t come in yet, and there’s definitely a difference,” said the Vice-President. “We have full colour guard uniforms and the traditional plumes for the band now, and it looks amazing.”

The band’s spokesman took time to acknowledge the role that McMaster’s Department of Athletics and Recreation plays in the group’s activities, as the department responsible for Marauder sports provides many opportunities for the marching band to perform.

“We do a lot of work with them and they ask us to attend a lot of events,” said Capon of the department. “We were at Midnight Madness and at the Homecoming shows in support. We like to be out and amongst the McMaster community as much as we can be.”

The Vice-President indicates that the band has been getting a positive reception from audiences and fellow musicians alike, and was a hit at the Toronto Santa Claus that it took part in on Nov. 20.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback so far this year,” Capon said. “The musical director of the Toronto Argonauts even complimented us and said that we were really looking and sounding good.

“We’ve also gotten feedback from the multiple parades that we’ve performed in. We’ve done four so far and have two more to go, and all of them have told us that they were really glad to have had us there. We performed at the Toronto Santa Claus parade this year and it was a huge event.

“We were so happy to get in, and everyone was cheering us on.”

Beyond the parades on the near horizon, the Vice-President says that her band is focused on adding more tunes to its repertoire as the year progresses in the hope of finding common musical ground with potential audiences.

“One of our goals going forward is to learn new music,” Capon explained. “We want to move towards music that’s a little more modern, something that students at McMaster can relate to. We’re trying to decide what songs will be the most interesting for us to play and for people to listen to.”

Their enlarged schedule of practices and events has added hours of work to band members’ lives. Capon believes however that her band mates understand as she does that excelling at their craft will require hard work.

While the effort to improve continues, the band will keep displaying their prowess in parades and special events throughout the holiday season.



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