Marching Band is Marching Forward
By: Rebeka Porter
The Quincy University Hawks Marching Band reappeared in the fall of 2010 after being absent for about 66 years.
According to Bill Machold, director of bands, recreating the marching band was initially President Gervasi’s idea. The program grants more exposure for the music department. It creates a better atmosphere at football games and gives QU that “big campus” feel.
Before the reboot of the marching band there were only 18 band members. However, in 2010, when the marching band began again, it grew to 30 members.
During the first five years of the program, the band continued to increase in size, growing to 50 members in the band, including color guard. However, decreased enrollment at QU, slowed the marching band’s recruitment efforts.
“We’re close to 40 (members) now. Last year was even less. We had our largest incoming freshman class this fall and we hope to follow that again next fall with a large incoming group,” Machold said. We have a small group graduating so we should be on track again to approach close to 50. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
The admission staff at QU was extremely helpful in getting the word out about the new band program in 2010. They went to schools and talked about the development of the marching program. Even now, the admission staff is helpful in band recruitment.
The marching band is finishing its seventh year at QU since the reboot.
“We’ve been given better resources this year than we have in the past to go out and tour and make connections with band directors,” Machold said.
For the first time he was given time from his teaching schedule to recruit new members for the band.
“The coaches for athletic teams, they coach during their season, but in their off season they’re just out recruiting. I have to teach full time. I can’t just go out and recruit and visit schools when I’m in the classroom,” Machold said. “We’re doing more connecting with band directors. We had our largest incoming freshman group this fall. We’re hoping to be able to duplicate that next year. And maybe even make it bigger, start pushing toward 50 again, and then see where we can go beyond that.
Machold goes into schools and works with groups during marching band season. He helps with band camps and does percussion instruction.
“We’re also trying to get out and just visit schools and say, ‘Hey, can I have five minutes to talk to your kid about music scholarships and opportunities at QU and our marching band?’ We’re just trying to connect with band directors in the area as much as possible. It’s hard work,” Machold said.
He would like to see the program grow to include 60-65 members.
“If we can get it up… that’ll have a positive impact on all of our groups. In the spring for concert band, we’d probably have 40-45 (members). It would help our jazz band numbers, things like that,” Machold said. “It’s already helped our music program immensely. The trick is then taking that next level—taking that next step to get us from 40 to 50 (members) to 50 to 60. That’s the next phase.”
The marching band performs at home football games, parades, and the Hannibal Band Day parade located in Hannibal, Missouri.
If you’re on campus and you played an instrument in high school, it’s not too late to join the band. It’s an all-encompassing band program and everyone is welcome.
For more information, please contact Bill Machold at 217-228-5432 ext:3163 or email him at email@example.com.