Diamond Marching Band on the rise

Recording artists have reached out to the band about its performances.

Junior music education major Anthony Huntington plays trombone during halftime of the Owls’ 45-20 win against Southern Methodist at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 1. The Diamond Band has received buzz from major recording artists in recent weeks. | GENEVA HEFFERNAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Gideon Park, a freshman neuroscience major and trumpeter in the Diamond Marching Band, was broadcasted to 1.7 million Twitter users on Oct. 3 — for 10 seconds.

The marching band performed a Panic! At The Disco medley featuring the songs “This Is Gospel,” “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “Victorious,” during the halftime show of the Oct. 1 game against Southern Methodist University. The band tweeted a shout-out with “#CherryOn” and Park made it into the last 10 seconds of the video, now viral among Panic! At The Disco fans.

“You have no idea, I screamed when I saw it,” said Alison Hopkins, a freshman journalism major and trombonist in the marching band. “They are my favorite band of all time, and when I saw that we were doing a Panic! At The Disco show … I just knew from the start that we were going to get some attention for it. So I was really excited.”

This was not the first time the Diamond Marching Band gained widespread recognition. It impressed musical artists Bastille and Paramore in 2014 and made appearances in the films “The Wolf of Wall Street” and the remake of “Annie.”

“It’s cool we’re getting recognition, and I feel like we’ll get more because of all the hard work we put in,” Park said. “Being optimistic, people like Temple’s band a lot now, so I feel like it’s going to grow and get better.”

Matthew Brunner, the band’s director, said many of the students came from rigid musical backgrounds and were taught not to move around while they play. But the life that the band brings to popular pieces like Panic! At The Disco’s “This is Gospel” comes from the students’ ability to go beyond hearing the music and truly feel it, he added.

“It’s stand still, don’t move, just play,” he said. “Probably tone-production wise, that’s better. But there’s something missing when they do that.”

“I would say, ‘Just would you move around a bit, move to the music,’ and they would do it,” he added. “It would sound so much better because they’re now feeling the music a little bit more. And they can really put their heart into it.”

Before they get to really put their heart into the music, the members have to put in the time at practices to memorize the formations and dances. In addition to three days of practice every week during their season, the students practice on their own to memorize the music.

Hopkins said once game day comes around, the band’s routine is a mixture of serious preparation and game-day excitement.

“We all just kind of get excited, talk to our section, like, ‘You know, oh my God, it’s game day, I hope we win,’” Hopkins said. “It’s just really exciting.”

While everyone in the band has different experiences during their performances, Brunner said they all are part of a group that is a major contributor to school spirit at Temple.

“[My favorite part about marching band is] the music, and how everyone really likes the shows that we put on,” Park said. “And the friends you make in marching band, we become like a small family.”

Brunner said the band, the football team, the cheerleaders and the dance team all support each other to create the exciting game-day atmosphere every game, not just for the more popular games when attendance reaches 10,000 students.

“I wish we could get that crowd every single game,” he added. “We need to do more to get all [Temple] students on the same boat where everyone’s supporting each other and helping each other.”

Moriah Thoman can be reached at moriah.thoman@temple.edu.

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