Countdown To Touchdown
pride of the plains marching band
Nevin P. Jones | reporter
The crowd is roaring; the stands are shaking; the football team is ready to crack some skulls; Carnie Smith Stadium is at a fever pitch, but something is missing. On cue, “Welcome to the Jungle” erupts from the Pride of the Plains Marching Band, and the stadium explodes in excitement.
If PSU football had a 12th man, he would undoubtedly be the Pride of the Plains Marching Band. You can’t have a game day in Pittsburg without the band. It just wouldn’t be the same.
“If the band wasn’t there, people would miss them,” said clarinet player Leann Verhoff, junior in music and English. “When you’re in high school and you’re in band, you get labeled as a nerd, but here people get excited to see you. It’s really an incredible feeling because we make a difference in the game, and people want to hear us play.”
And this year they will definitely be heard.
The marching band has its largest group ever with 205 members. That number gives it the chance to do more with each game, and that’s what band director Doug Whitten is planning.
“We have the numbers to really do some fun things this year,” said clarinet player Maggie Detrick, senior in elementary education. “Doug wants each one of our sets to be a little more complicated than the last.”
The first show looks to be a crowd pleaser with jazzy arrangements of “Home on the Range,” “Anyway You Want It” by Journey and “Sweet Caroline.” The anticipation to perform this new set in front of everyone is building, especially for the 86 freshmen.
“For people who are new to campus, like freshmen, they don’t really understand the aura of what Pitt State football is or what a Saturday in Carnie Smith Stadium is like,” said drumline member Matt Locke, junior in finance and fraud examination. “We’re here as part of the entertainment and atmosphere of the game. “
Matt Locke says that band in college is about having fun and entertaining the crowd. With just a simple rendition of the song “All I Do Is Win,” the band can have everyone on their feet and cheering. Everyone in the stadium feeds off the energy from the band.
“There’s a really good energy in the band this year,” said Verhoff. “Each year is a little different, and this year we feel more focused and positive. There is no weak link and each section is strong.”
This year features one drastic change from years past, though: according to a new MIAA rule, the band can no longer sit behind the opposing team’s bench. The band’s new section is on the west side of the stadium by the north endzone.
“It’s going to have some positives for us,” said trumpet player Jonathan Stanwick, sophomore in PR. “We’ll be able to focus more on our music, but don’t worry. When it gets down to the red zone, we will still be able to make noise and heckle.”
With the biggest band that PSU has ever had, be ready for some high-energy shows, lots of dancing and crisp marching from the Pride of the Plains Marching Band this season.