Temple Diamond Marching Band debuts new performance style and uniforms

The Diamond Marching Band had a new look at its first away football game since pre-COVID-19.

This year, TUDMB is utilizing an open set position. Instead of standing with their feet parallel, they now have their heels together with their toes spread at a 45-degree angle. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple students and alumni may remember how the Temple University Diamond Marching Band was featured in films like “The Wolf of Wall Street,” 2014’s “Annie”  and the “Tonight Show” alongside rappers Young Thug, Gunna and Wheezy. 

But this year, the public will see TUDMB in a new way. 

They’ll be marching — during games and tailgates — in new uniforms and utilizing a new performance-dance style during half-time shows. Both of these additions were on display during the Sept. 2 home game against the University of Akron. TUDMB performed “Cuff It” by Beyoncé, “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift and “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The Moon. 

TUDMB is utilizing an open set position this year. Instead of standing with their feet parallel, they now have their heels together with their toes spread at a 45-degree angle. 

The new positioning allows the audience to better see the band’s movements while improving members’ balance, posture and breathing, said Samantha MacFarlane, a senior music education major who serves as one of the band’s drum majors. 

TUDMB spends more than six hours a week at Geasey Field memorizing a new routine for every Temple Football home game. This usually consists of a flashy pop song to open, followed by the accompaniment of The Diamond Gems, Temple’s dance team, a marching song and then a dramatic drum sequence and dance break.

“I think [the open set position] is really cool because it allows you to do a lot more visually because even though we do a new show every home game, I feel like our shows kind of look a little bland sometimes,” MacFarlane said. “So this year we want to kind of spice things up visually too and add more horn moves and little dance breaks here and there.”

TUDMB was introduced to the open set style during their annual band camp in August, so they could get adjusted to the new position before the academic year began. 

It was a big reminder to the band to be adaptable, stay on their toes and accept something new, MacFarlane said.

TUDMB has also received new uniforms for the first time since 2009, but the band was able to keep their uniforms in good shape until recent years, said Matthew Brunner, the director of Athletic Bands and professor of instrumental music.

Once the group started purchasing the new uniforms, supply chain issues failed to get the uniforms to TUDMB last year, Brunner said. The look of Temple’s uniform is easily identifiable, and they didn’t want to sway too far from tradition. 

“People see that uniform and they know it’s Temple,” Brunner said. “So [Dean of Boyer College, Robert Stroker] said ‘Don’t probably don’t stray too far from that, just update everything and go from there.’”

The Sept. 9 away game against Rutgers marked the first time TUDMB has traveled together since the Fall 2019 semester. Although Temple lost, there was still comradery and pride among TUDMB and the Marching Scarlet Knights upon meeting.

“Somehow we ended up with this giant dance circle going on with music that was playing in the stadium and everyone would just get in the circle and do a dance move and then fall back in and it was crazy,” said Isaac Kraus, a senior music technology major and one of the mellophone section leaders.  

At the away game, TUDMB only performed a pre-game show, which was a condensed version of what was played for Temple’s home opener, Kraus said. However, being able to play in a filled stadium and seeing another marching band perform live was special for TUDMB members. 

“Marching bands are kind of this culture that we don’t really get to share with other marching bands a lot because it’s rare that we travel at all and other people don’t necessarily come to us,” Kraus said.

Erin Flanagan, TUDMB’s campus engagement committee and the alto saxophone section leader, ultimately chose Temple because of how TUDMB stands out as a university marching band. 

“There were a few schools I looked at that didn’t really have band programs,” said Flanagan, a sophomore music education major. “But Temple stood out to me because of that and the idea of getting to play at Lincoln Financial and getting to be like one of the main focal points of the school just really seemed like an awesome opportunity.”

Ultimately, by learning new material, a new performance style and debuting new uniforms, TUDMB hopes to increase engagement from the fans and potential future TUDMB members. 

“Usually I usually watch the crowd and just kind of look up and down the row and see all the smiles on people’s faces,” Brunner said. “It’s something that the alumni and students and the university community can be proud of.”

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