At the first football game of the season, 30,368 fans heard the beat of the Owls.
They heard combined arrangements of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments worthy of crowd participation. The members of the Diamond Marching Band serve as musical cheerleaders for Temple athletics, while encompassing diversity, camaraderie and talent.
The newfound sea of Cherry and White fans energized members of the band. Student support has been minimal in the past, but after the Temple vs. Navy game, morale is soaring.
“The positive response makes such a difference,” sophomore drum major and conductor Tina DiMeglio said. “This feels like a real college game.”
Tuba section leader and junior Alex Kramer said the band wants to generate more interest and get more coverage.
“I think our program is pretty good. I don’t see why it can’t be more public,” Kramer said.
All performers want feedback because being paid attention to ignites a desire to do better. Band members thrive on crowd involvement.
“If no one is singing along with our tunes…it’s hard to keep the morale up, especially if the football team is losing.” Kramer said. “If the team wins, we’re happy. If not, we still want to have fun.”
It took a Temple touchdown to sound a fight
song sing-along. The stadium chanted along to the familiar words “T for Temple U.”
A few even attempted the motions. Temple may have lost the game, but at least the band won followers.
“They’re amazing. Even if they wear overalls, they’re the best band I’ve ever seen,” senior public relations major Mia Laskaris said. The stars are in the stands. When halftime rolled around, the Diamond Marching Band lined Lincoln Financial Field in perfect sync with one another.
They play their instruments as effortlessly as someone would brush their teeth and their marching formations portrayed hours of hard work.
Jumping into their 82nd season, members of the band now revel in the fact that they share a stomping ground with the Philadelphia Eagles at the Linc. The student section buzzes with band members serving as referees, yelling at unfair calls and cheering on players. They care about the game as much as the athletes. Despite less than stellar football records, adrenaline rushes ensue. Football defensive tackle Andre Neblett admits the band plays a big role in his attitude.
“I get pumped up right off the bat when I hear the first few melodies of the fight song,” Neblett said. “I see all the band kids and the colors of their uniforms and I’m ready to play.”The first game’s large turnout excited both the football players and band members. Groupies from near and far who memorized the fight song from day one appreciated the increase in attendance. Parents of senior bass drummer Shawn Laudenslager proudly seated themselves next to the band and enjoyed the routine.
“It would be dead without the band. They bring the motivation,” Joanne Laudenslager said. The band shows up for all home games, select away games, pep rallies, alumni tailgating and a handful of outside performances. They also reverberate eardrums at the Liacourus Center during the basketball season. All the prep work is done over the summer, as members spend long days drilling marches, learning formations and conducting music. Aside from summer training, the band practices at least 10 hours a week, not including the time they put in for games.
For these Temple music buffs, their eight-hour days start at 9 a.m. The band consists of 141 musicians and spans across 60 different majors, with students hailing from 10 states ranging from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. Due to the amount of time spent together, many developed close relationships. Members appreciate the personal connections and networking benefits.
“Despite all the time put in, it’s a lot of fun,” said senior clarinet player Alyson Dube, who just entered her fourth year in the band. “We’re all in it together and act as one.”
When the band isn’t trying to master the art of marching during summer training sessions, the members attend parties, watch movies or enjoy game nights. Grabbing a 6-inch sub at Subway, also known as a “bandwich” for lunch, is common. Breakfast together on game days is a popular pastime. The menu occasionally includes kegs and eggs. Observers can sense community just by glancing towards their section during a game. No one can miss the hand slapping, laughing and excited chatter amongst members.
“A big step has happened in friendship. Freshmen feel comfortable at Temple and have friends already before college even starts,” DiMeglio said. Since personal lives vary out of the stands, students like Kramer are glad to have formed relationships with his marching peers.
“Walking around campus, I see all my best friends that are in the band with me,” Kramer said. “There might be cliques just like every organization, but the sense of general acquaintance and being nice to each other is present.”
Whatever state the scoreboard is in, the band continues to jam. Band director Michael Britcher said he understands
the show must go on.
“I hope we do get more support this year,” Britcher said. “The band has prepared extremely well for this fall season. The students and I are excited to support the Owls loud and proud. That is our job.”
Gina Ryder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.