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Drake University Marching Band marches to their own beat

Photo by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

Students of the Drake University Marching Band have worked hours upon hours to provide an entertaining halftime show and other fun cheers at the Drake home football games.

The band has made a name for itself, being one of the highlights of the home games. They, like the cheerleaders or dance team, help boost the morale and enthusiasm of the crowds and keep everyone entertained.

Their acronym, DUMB, has garnered the attention of many who flock to the football games to see the fun DUMB-labeled shirts, dancing and cheering along to the music the band provides.

Though they don’t just show up to games and play – they put in plenty of rehearsal time beforehand.

“We have three to four practices a week, we are expected to be on the field 15 minutes before our scheduled time and rehearsals are from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.,” said Maddi Cave, a sophomore on the drumline.

This year Cave played cymbals, last year she played snare drum, and she hopes to cover each drumline part in the coming years.

“On game days we show up to the practice field at 11 a.m. and run through our set, then we migrate to the game at 1 p.m. and it typically goes till 4 or 5 p.m.,” she said.

Drake’s marching band isn’t as competitive as other universities. DUMB was designed for more casual musicians as a fun activity rather than a job.

“It takes all the ‘for fun’ elements of marching and not the completive-work-till-you-collapse elements,” Cave said. “If we wanted to do more competitions, we’d definitely have to up our rehearsal times.”

Cave believes right now everyone who does the marching band is simply in it to have fun and continue to play music. She herself isn’t all that interested in doing national or international competitions and doesn’t think many other people are either.

“I think I put in just enough work, I don’t slack off, I learn my parts, learn my placement, do what I need to do, nothing extra,” said Mac Muehlberger, a sophomore clarinet player.

Muehlberger said as long as everyone does what they’re supposed to, everyone has fun, the band sounds and looks great, and the show comes together perfectly.

Both Cave and Muehlberger say the band community and all the friends they’ve made are their favorite part of doing it.

“It’s a very loving community, we have a lot of fun,” Muehlberger said. “We all take care and look out for each other. It can get a little stressful as we struggle to put stuff together sometimes, but we remember we are doing this for fun and we’re all in this together.”

They all put in the work to make an exciting and entertaining show for the community and provide music for all to hear.

“I’ve remained close with the other drumline members in my grade,” Cave said. “Six of us came in, one has since dropped, but the remaining five of us have stayed really close. They’re my favorite part of the marching band.”

Cave said as a first-year she was scared to branch out and meet new people, but has since made many new friends in other sections and grades.

“A lot of the people in the band are good, kind people,” Cave said. “They’re easy to make friends with.”

Muehlberger was the opposite – he said he tried to branch out right away and get to know as many people as he could.

Regarding the faculty, the marching band is under the direction of Dr. Vince Kenney, with help of the other director of bands, Robert Meunier, who helps organize the marching percussion.

“Vince is a lot of fun. Sometimes I think he is in this position to keep reliving his happy college days. He gives off that vibe. Not in a bad way,” Cave said.

Muehlberger added that he can tell how passionate about the program Kenney is and loves how upbeat he is almost all the time.

Both students also added that despite the schedule, they find the faculty is typically fairly flexible in accommodating student lives, including other class conflicts and events. They just emphasize the importance of communicating any issues you come across.

“Joining DUMB was far from a dumb decision,” Cave said.

This year, the marching band performed their halftime show at three of the home football games. Their show this year featured music from the band Panic! At The Disco.

The marching season officially ended with an end-of-the-season formal being held on Nov. 13 for all members to eat, hang out, recognize the seniors and look back at the season they had.

DUMB is open to anyone interested despite major or musical skill. No auditions required. To register, students must register for the fall semester for MUS148.

For more information or any questions, students can contact Dr. Vince Kenney at vince.kenney@drake.edu

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