Matthew Brunner always surprises the newest members of the Diamond Marching Band.
During summer band camp, Brunner, the director of athletic bands for Boyer College of Music and Dance, tells the students that Temple University’s band memorizes about 40 different songs each semester.
“They look at you with big eyes like, ‘Are you crazy?’” said Brunner. “But everybody does it.”
The marching band performs during pep rallies, the half-time period at Temple’s football and basketball games and high school competitions that they’re invited to guest perform at in the area.
The 220 band members rehearse three days a week at Geasey Field on 15th Street and Polett Walk. Brunner, who’s overseen the band for 11 years, makes an effort to learn the name of each member.
“It’s important to me because I always want the band to feel like a family,” Brunner said. “If dad doesn’t know his kids’ names, that’s kind of a problem.”
Brunner directs rehearsals from a high-rise platform called a scissor lift, so he can see the entire ensemble, he said.
During those two hours of practice, members fine-tune and memorize their new songs and the formations they make on the field.
“We’re really good dancers, and we’re really fun people,” said Gabriel Custodio, a freshman clarinet player.
The marching band performs a 10-minute half-time show every time they step onto Lincoln Financial Field. One song the ensemble played in October during the halftime show even went viral.
The band’s performance of South Korean boy band BTS’s widely-known Korean-pop song, “IDOL,” collected more than a million views in five days on YouTube, Brunner said.
“The most rewarding part is seeing the students enjoy themselves and the people that watch them enjoy themselves,” he added.
Under the direction of Brunner, the members’ relationship with each other and the university grow as well.
“The camaraderie and the brotherhood,” said Aaron McDevitt, a freshman clarinet player. “You build really strong bonds.”
“I like performing the best,” said Miranda Lankas, a sophomore color guard member. “The school spirit element seems a little cheesy, but it’s nice to be so involved with the university.”
Autumn Minnich, a senior trombone player, said she has learned how to manage her time between being in the band and a student over the past four years.
“My favorite parts of being in the band are being able to be with my friends and being able to play some really awesome music in front of a really awesome fan base,” she said.
The band performed six themed shows this semester including “around the world,” “movies” and an updated version of their popular 2016 Panic! At The Disco show. The rock band gave the Diamond Marching Band a shout out on Twitter in September, after the marching band played songs from their “Pray For The Wicked” album.
Brunner will start choosing songs for the band to perform in Fall 2019 during next summer, he said. He added he prefers to select modern, newly released songs that the band members and the Temple community can connect with.
“I want them to be able to sing along,” Brunner said. “I want them to be able to associate with the music that we do and just enjoy themselves.”
CORRECTION: The caption of the featured image previously misstated Lauren Vu’s title. She is a drum major in the Diamond Marching Band.