Summer Greetings from Grinnell Way

The calendar has turned to August, which can only mean one thing….WELCOME TO BAND CAMP!  With as spectacular as the weather has been in Western MA lately, I’m sure hoping this keeps up for a few more weeks!  But before we look ahead, let’s look back at everything that’s been happening the past few weeks.

Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma National Convention in Springfield!

Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma had their national convention in Springfield, and our chapters of Epsilon Nu and Delta Delta did an incredible job behind the scenes.  From loading percussion instruments to music stands, UMass was involved everywhere.  I heard great comments about everything our students did.  UMMB alumnus Gary Bernice joined me for a TBΣ workshop about providing service beyond your college campus.  It was a great opportunity to share Gary’s inspiring story, of all the things happening at Springfield SciTech.  Four of Gary’s students joined in, to give it a personal touch.


Last week was the annual Drum Major Academy and Thom Hannum’s Mobile Percussion Seminar at UMass Amherst.  The instructional staff for both is really a “who’s who” of the UMMB over the past 30 years.  It is quite the testament to Thom and fellow UMMB Hall of Famer Heidi Sarver how many young people leave the camp more skilled and deeply inspired.   All four of the current UMMB drum majors (Colleen Grady, Gabby Istvan, Rachel Rivard, and Jacob Balcanoff) were part of the IMPACT team, as were a few other current UMMB members (Katherine Murphy and Jennifer Antocci of the flutes, Bradley Swift of the clarinets, and Rachel Oestreicher of the mellophones).   Rob Hammerton, who was part of the DMA instructional staff, provides a great perspective on the week, in his latest blog.  And if you’ve never checked out Dr. Rob’s blog, I highly recommend you change that!  It’s on my must-read list, whenever a new edition comes out.

Band Camp 2013

Band Camp for the 2013 UMMB begins with the Ad Staff arriving on Tuesday, August 20th.  Field Staff comes in Thursday, August 22nd, and percussion/color guard new members the following day.  All new member wind players report on Saturday, August 24th, and by Sunday evening, we have the full 2013 Minuteman Marching Band in attendance.  Among the goals for Band Camp is the learning of our new pre-game show.  Jason DeGroff (the most recent inductee in the UMMB Hall of Fame) has done a terrific job of refining what we’ve done before and adding some new elements.  There’s more patriotic pageantry and a good dose of school spirited rah-rah.  That will be the first thing we take on at Band Camp.  We’ll also learn John Leonard’s Phil Collins Medley.  A year ago, JL’s arrangement of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long was a smash success, so we’re all looking forward to playing his music again.  Lastly, we will be taking on that old UMMB warhorse, Malaguena.  Raise your hand if you’ve played that one before.  Anything we get done in addition to that will just be icing on the cake.  And oh yes, lest I forget, we need to submit drill charts of our Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drill by August 31st!  So, it’s going to be a busy Band Camp…but really, would you have it any other way?

Band Camp Concert & BBQ

Band Camp wraps up on Friday, August 31st.  There will be an end of Band Camp performance that afternoon; the time of it is in flux as of this writing.  Commonwealth Honors College has their induction ceremony at 5 pm that day, which is an even bigger deal this year, with the opening of their brand new residential complex.  We are fortunate to have many Honors students in the UMMB, so in order to accommodate their schedule, our performance will be earlier in the day.  Feel free to e-mail me or call the Band Office (413-545-3410) as we get closer, to verify the time.  Also, we will most likely be farther down the hillside, as construction of the Champions Center basketball practice facility will be occurring on the fields closest to the Mullins Center.  There is a barbeque following the end of Band Camp performance; we would love to have you join us!  I know the students always appreciate the support.  The Minuteman Marching Band continues to be YOUR band regardless of when you last marched.  You are always welcome to stop by.  And if you have not been back to campus in a while, be sure to stop by the George N. Parks Minuteman Marching Band Building and see the Donor Wall.  Installed in May, it really adds the appropriate finishing touch to our home.

UMMB Schedule

Looking ahead to the UMMB schedule for 2013, there are some very exciting dates you won’t want to miss.  The home opener at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 7th provides you two bands for the price of one!  Our good friends in the Black Bear Marching Band from the University of Maine will be joining us.  Each band will do a separate number at half-time, and then both bands will join together to do a special tribute to the City of Boston and the Boston Strong spirit.  Saturday, September 28th will find the UMMB at Roxbury High School in Succasunna, NJ (alma mater of one Heidi Sarver), performing at the Roxbury Marching Classic.  We are tentatively scheduled to perform at 9:45 pm, at the end of the show.  The following day, we’ll be in Allentown, PA for the Collegiate Marching Band Festival.  I don’t have our show time for that yet, but come for the entire day; every band is great to watch.

Band Day & Homecoming

Band Day will be Saturday, Oct. 12th at Gillette.  The following week features Homecoming activities on campus, with the Multibands concert on Friday, October 18th.  As is custom, there will be the Band Alumni reception at the U-Pub in the Campus Center following the show.  One of the highlights of Multibands is the announcement of the latest members of the UMMB Hall of FameNominations are currently being accepted for this honor.  If you know of someone who you feel deserves the distinction, you can nominate them here.

As you may know, the University is currently celebrating its sesquicentennial (aka, 150th birthday!).  October 25th will be quite the historic day in Boston, as UMass Amherst receives its due recognition.  Details are underway regarding a UMMB performance during the day.  In the evening, there will be a grand concert at Symphony Hall, featuring many of the Music Department ensembles and the marching band.  Think a traveling version of Multibands!  The following day is the Homecoming football game.  Kick-off is set for 3 pm; tentatively, I think we can plan on Alumni Band report time of 10:30 am.  Everyone should have plenty of tail-gate time, to enjoy the day.   More details on that to follow; I do hope you’ll be able to join us!

And, of course, this is the year of our first-ever appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  If you will be in New York City the night before, the Alumni Association is having a UMass reception at the Dubliner, at 45 Stone Street.  The reception is from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  Chancellor Subbaswamy will be on hand, and plenty of UMass gear will be available.  We want to see maroon on the streets of NYC when the band steps off the next morning.   It’s going to be a truly historic day for the Power and Class; I hope you’ll be able to be a part of it!

Whew!  Just typing this has made me excited for the season; I hope you are feeling it too!  I do hope you will able to join us at some point.  We’d love to have you with us at Band Camp, in the Alumni Band, or at any other event you can make.  Practices are always open; you can even take in a bird’s eye view from the scissors lift.  It does not matter when you last marched; this band is always here for you.

Enjoy the last days of summer.  For those in the area, it won’t be much longer now.  Can you hear the drums already at work?

Wishing you all the best from Amherst, and, as always,


Timothy Todd Anderson, Ed.D.

Director, Minuteman Marching Band

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