For Diamond Marching Band, performance ‘has a purpose’

The marching band plays during multiple sports teams’ home games.

Temple Diamond Band drumline performs during halftime of the football team’s win against Memphis on Nov. 21, 2015. | MARGO REED TTN

At the Diamond Marching Band’s practice at the Oval, nearly 200 water bottles line the sidelines waiting for their respective owners.

Band camp, a week-long practice, begins a week before the start of the fall semester.

David Gough, the cymbal section leader of the drumline, said the group practices from 9 a.m. until midnight on some days in preparation for the upcoming football season.

“It’s your whole world at that point,” said David Gough, the cymbals section leader of the drumline. “I had no idea what else was going on in the world other than waking up and playing music.”

During football season, the band—led by Matthew Brunner— practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4-6 p.m. at the Oval, located between 15th and 16th streets and Berks Street and Montgomery Avenue.

Each practice begins with a warmup run around the track, followed by stretching, jumping jacks and pushups, said Jesse Dooley, a dance captain and trumpet player.

All 200 members receive scholarships for being part of the band and perform at every home football game at Lincoln Financial Field, as well as one or two away games.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t know the first thing about sports, they just want to see Temple win,” Gough said. “Getting to go on the Eagles’ football field to perform is really cool. … I got chills just marching onto the field for the pregame show [against] Notre Dame.”

For women’s basketball, the band is split into the Cherry Band and White Band, and play at alternate games. The band goes to three volleyball games, and each member is required to attend one. It also performs at showcases for high schools two or three times a year.

During basketball games, the band performs at halftime and timeouts, and players are required to have previously been a part of marching band to participate.

“The band gets pretty intense during basketball games,” Gough said. “Basketball is a little more exciting and intense because we’re closer to the playing surface.”

Gough said football games are the most performance heavy, with drum breaks following each down, leading “T for Temple U” chants during timeouts and after every touchdown, as well as playing specific songs during points of the game.

The third quarter is the “dead quarter,” and it’s the band’s job to keep the crowd’s energy up, he added.

“Everything we play has a purpose and has to do with the atmosphere and feel of the game,” Gough said.

The band also performs at halftime, which involves a dance break. As a dance captain, Dooley works with a committee that choreographs dances and teaches them to the band.

“It’s a lot of discussion of, ‘Can everybody do this?’” He said, “we have to make it all accessible for everyone in the band.”

Though band members are encouraged to be sportsmanlike, they can sometimes get carried away and shout during the games out of enthusiasm or frustration, Gough added.

“I don’t think I’ve met people outside the marching band who love Temple as much as we do,” Dooley said.

The band’s relationship with the teams is that of mutual respect and is  highlighted when the football team sings the alma mater with the band, Dooley said.

“It’s a really nice moment because it’s a really cohesive moment and we feel the appreciation they have for us,” he said.

“There’s no better feeling going off the field, especially when you get crowd reactions,” Gough added. “The band has a real place in the university for the whole sporting atmosphere. … We’re not the best band in the country by any means, but we have fun.”

Lian Parsons can be reached at or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.

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