A staple of every UWG homecoming is the parade of band students marching down Maple Street, giving the brightly decorated floats behind them a lively beat to live up to. This year is no exception. Dr. Cale Self, associate director of Athletic Bands, knows the drill.
“Homecoming is the busiest week of the year for us,” said Self. “I think this is something that people don’t really realize, the physical toll that [marching band] takes on the human body while you are doing it. I expect and demand the same kind of quality of sound that you would get out of one of our concert bands.”
The band’s schedule the week of homecoming would tire even the most energized of people. Tuesday, Sept. 22, the UWG band will participate in the Carroll County Marching Band Exhibition, where various levels of marching bands in Carroll County will gather to show each other what they have been working on. On Thursday, Sept. 24, they plan to visit the UWG Newnan Campus to spark up some homecoming spirit. They will lead the crowd at “Wolves Capture the Square” Friday, supplying much of the needed pep of a pep rally; this will be Sept. 25. And of course Saturday, Sept. 26, they will appear in the parade, then the football game and shortly afterwards, will load the buses to attend an exhibition in Forsyth County.
Students who continue to participate in band year after year dedicate large chunks of time and effort to the band, also known as The Sound That Lights the South.
“We prepare all the time,” said Destiny Segars, assistant drum major. “We are always trying to make sure our music is up to par, with all the hype, just to make everybody feel good and pumped for the game.”
Very often when budgets run thin in school systems, the arts find themselves battling for funding. UWG band provides students an outlet to channel their musical talents into possible skills that could benefit them later in their careers.
“Find me an argument against music education,” said Kevin Hays, brass captain and sousaphone section leader. “It creates better students, it creates a better work ethic and it gives you a past time and keeps kids off the street.”
Self also added to this.
“Besides the desire to cultivate musical abilities, many band students participate in band because they consider band a kind of second family.”
“Unlike big bands like Ohio State, U.G.A, and Georgia Tech, I know almost everyone in my band,” said Alex Ferre, trombone player. “It’s a huge, dysfunctional family. We have a similar passion, and we come together to create something amazing.”
Overall, the band serves to provide school spirit in a creative format. Their upcoming set lists contain music mostly within the 70s and 80s genre, in keeping with the homecoming theme “West Georgia Through the Decades.”
“I would really like to have more student involvement with the band,” said Ferre. “I would love to have the student section with us. When we cheer, they cheer.”