Colorado State Marching Band the largest in school history

If the CSU marching band seems a bit louder at Hughes Stadium this year it might be for good reason — the 300 member band is the largest it’s been since its inception in 1901.

One reason for the band’s growth is the scholarship drive that helps more prospective students join the band, which increased by 40 members from the 2011-2012 school year. The growth follows a trend. Each of the past four years have seen record enrollment, a fact that excites Band Director Christopher Nicholas.

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“Our enrollment figures in 2009, 2010 and 2011 each set records as the largest (or second largest) band in CSU’s history,” Nicholas said in an email to the Collegian. “Each year we have been delighted to write a new chapter in the growth of this tradition-rich organization.”

Scholarships have been given to each band member eligible for financial aid since 2009, according to Nicholas. Additionally, 2012 marks the third year that band members in their second, third and fourth years of service are provided extra scholarship funding.

Band members say this year will mark a new era, as they try and mesh together new songs with the pageantry and spirit of the past.

“The 2012 CSU Marching Band has taken upon themselves to enhance the game day experience at Hughes Stadium,” said drum major and senior political sciences major Steven Contreras in an email to the Collegian. “This new initiative gives the crowd new music to enjoy and allows the band members to learn more exciting music throughout the entirety of the fall performance season.”

This enhanced experience includes added shows at the Lincoln Center on Sept. 29 and a trip to perform in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

“We play many events already, and try to select a repertoire that is adaptable to each of those environments,” said Associate Band Director Richard Frey in an email to the Collegian. “The band started here over 100 years ago, they have worked incredibly hard with the sole purpose of supporting our teams, entertaining crowds and representing CSU in the very best way.”

The band’s storied history includes numerous awards and performances with bands like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Contreras believes the band’s future is bright and to expect more and more major events in the future.

“The 2012 season is setting the foundation for a new exciting time for the CSU Marching Band,” Contreras said. “Our future is a chapter that we are truly excited about and will be a testament to our hard work and performance of today.”

This foundation has been built around a sense of school pride that aims at showing off CSU to a new audience.

“We want the CSU student body to know that we take the mission of representing them and the university to heart in everything we do,” Contreras added. “We hope that our efforts and recognition does not only showcase the marching band, but introduces the power of CSU to a new audience of fans.”

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Senior Assistant Melissa Gross says CSU students should support the band either at an event or during rehearsals.

“The band is a great organization to be part of here at CSU! The atmosphere is welcoming and inclusive,” Gross said. “We love supporting the team and we take pride in our role as a part of the CSU community.”

Collegian Writer Christopher Boan can be reached at news@collegian.com.