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Rookie Reports

What do they say about marching band:

First Year Marchers

Ellen Ibister, trumpet

Mechanical Engineering major

I joined the UMD Marching Band in the fall of my sophomore year. I played trumpet in the pep band during my freshman year and wanted to become even more a part of the athletic band community and decided to try out the marching band. I had met friends in pep band that told me how much fun marching band was, so I thought I'd give it a go. I had never marched before I joined in 2011. Even though I came from a pretty big high school, we didn't have a marching program. So coming in, I knew absolutely nothing about how to march or even how marching band worked. But after marching band camp, I felt like an old pro because they teach you everything you need to know. Even with a major of Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Math, I found it pretty easy to focus on my studies as well as participate in marching band. I've heard that some high school marching bands are pretty intense, but that's not exactly the case at UMD. Don't get me wrong, we work hard and produce quality work, but it is also important for us to have fun! For the one year that I've been a part of the marching band family, I've had nothing but positive, good experiences.

Shane Gilman, drumline

Biochemistry major

I’ve been in band since 6th grade. I love music, especially marching band. In high school, I had many great times in marching band and on my high school’s drumline. I hadn’t planned on doing marching band in college because I had heard about how difficult it was to get onto college drumlines, and I didn’t think I would be good enough to make it. A friend from high school, who also attends UMD, told me how much fun UMD’s marching band was. Their band was smaller than my high school’s marching band, and auditions for drumline weren’t super intense, so I decided to try out, and I’m glad that I did. Marching band was probably the best part of coming to UMD. I met so many great people in such a short amount of time (plus I got to move in 2 weeks early!). Not only were the people involved amazing, and the music we played was awesome, it was also a nice break from all my science and math classes I was taking as a Biochemistry major. With marching band being in the evenings, it was no problem fitting it into my schedule. I would encourage anyone who is interested to join. No marching experience is necessary, it is a ton of fun, and I personally plan on being involved in marching band throughout all four years here at UMD.

Ava Heinrich, clarinet

Communications major

I joined the marching band because I had always wanted to be in one, but my high school didn't offer it.  I love being in the UMD Marching Band! It was definitely one of the best decisions I could have made coming into my freshman year of college.  I met a bunch of people right away, and I consider a lot of them to be my close friends.  I have never had a problem making the schedule work with my classes or my major (Communication).  It is a significant, but not overwhelming, time commitment.  I always looked forward to coming to practice and games because I got to hang out with my friends and play fun music.  All in all, being in the marching band has been a very positive experience and I would highly recommend joining to anyone considering it!     

Ethan Gerzema, drumline  

Criminology major

I first started marching in middle school but wasn't able to march in high school because it was cut.  I wanted something to do at school so I decided to join marching band my second year.  I really wish I joined my first year because it is a blast and I met so many great people!  Even with not much experience in marching band I was still able to join and play the bass drum. I am from Monticello, MN and my major is Criminology.  Marching band is a blast and I recommend anyone to join!  Oh and last but not least, DRUMLINE ROCKS!

Christine Nehring, piccolo

Biology and Chemistry major

My name is Christine Nehring, I play piccolo in the band, and I will be a sophomore in the fall of 2012. I plan on majoring in biology with a chemistry minor, and going on to be a pediatrician. This fall will be my fifth year of marching band and second with UMD, although I have been in band since seventh grade. My favorite part of marching band, besides the music and marching, would have to be the sense of family and belonging that you get from being in the band. Everyone is super nice and welcoming and it made the transition to college a lot easier for me last year. I always like to tell everyone that although it seems like a huge time commitment, it really is not. Marching band was the class that I looked forward to last fall, and I am super excited to be more involved with leadership this year! If you have any questions feel free to send me an email at nehr0028@d.umn.edu. I look forward to marching with you!


Matt Sienko, trumpet

Mechanical Engineering major

Marching band has been a wonderful experience for me. Going into it my first year, I had a few reservations about the time commitment it would be. Being a Mechanical Engineering major, I was especially concerned about keeping up with the pace of my classes. However, throughout the semester I learned how to manage my time very well, evidenced in the fact that I amassed my best semester GPA to date. But on top of learning valuable time management skills, it is a lot of fun. You get to meet other students who have motivation and dedication, and you will form friendships that will last your entire collegiate career. So, is Marching Band a sizable time commitment? Yes. But is Marching Band worth it? Absolutely. If you are on the fence, try it! What do you have to lose? 

Nicki Whelan, sousaphone

Vocal performance/Instrumental Music Education major

UMD Marching Band was probably one of the best experiences from my freshman year.  You meet so many people during Band Camp that you already have a set of friends you can rely on before school even starts. You even get some upper class men who are there to help if you need to ask them a question or need help on school work. There are so many different majors, that any one can help you with whatever major you are. You are not only marching and playing awesome music, you are also gaining a family that will stick with you through out your college years. That is what I believe marching band is all about.

Emma Larson, clarinet

Vocal Education, Theatre major

Hi, I'm Emma Larson and I'm a Vocal Ed major with a B.A. in Theatre. I was in marching band through middle and high school, so joining college marching band was a no-brainer. I love music and playing my clarinet. And when you add the fun people, music, and sports games, marching band is just a blast! I've also found that doing marching band my first year of school introduced me to people outside of my major. It gave me a group of people to connect with before school even started. Since all my theatre classes ended before 4, fitting marching band in was no problem. It was a great experience and so much fun!