‘Great things’ expected of incoming freshmen

“Another great year” is predicted for the 2005- 2006 Missouri Southern Marching Band. As with the department as a whole, the band has more than doubled in size.

“We’re looking forward to a bigger, better, more unique sound,” said Rusty Raymond, marching band director. “Everyone expects great things this year due to the strong group of freshman we have received. The new freshman are very talented, and we expect much from them.”

Raymond describes the sudden growth in the band as a two-part process. The first was the interest of the administration wanting the music department to grow.

Second was the “legwork” done by Raymond, along with the entire marching band.

“We recruited over the phone, and visiting high schools,” Raymond said. “We went from Joplin, to Blue Springs, to Kansas City and everywhere in between.”

The old members are accepting the new members easily.

“The incoming freshman are great,” said junior Paul Equihua, music education major. “They have a desire to do great things, are bringing in new ideas and are looking forward to having a great time.”

The larger numbers do have an effect on the band as a whole.

“We’re able to do a lot more,” said sophomore Matt Brusca, music education major. “We’re able to get the crowd pumping and more into the game since we’re able to get more sound on the field.”

“With all these new freshman, we have tons of new ideas for the year,” Raymond said. “We have students designing choreography for the band, rewriting music, rewriting the drill. That’s one thing I like about these new band members — they would be self-sustaining even if I wasn’t here to conduct.”

Not only was a bigger size and sound new to the band, but also a new instructor as well.

Dr. Cheryll Sifelli is the new director of woodwind studies and assistant band director for the marching band.

“Dr. Sifelli is from the University of North Texas,” Raymond said. “Along with the students, she too has brought forth many ideas for the band to use throughout the year.”

Raymond has some long term goals for the band.

“[The band] wants to help MSSU establish traditions,” he said. “Seeing the program grow like this is amazing and really helps to achieve our goal. If it weren’t for the students identifying the potential in the many schools we visited, and the hard work that all of them do, this program wouldn’t be what it is. With the students involved as they are, the future looks very bright.”