Thunder of the East Marching Band
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The Thunder of the East is the marching band of the University at Buffalo.
|Thunder of the East|
|School||University at Buffalo|
|Director||James E. Mauck|
|Uniform||Black pants with a blue and black jacket. Cavalier hats top off the uniform with UB Blue Plumes.|
The first marching band at the University at Buffalo was formed in 1920 by 15 students. At that time, performances were limited to a few concerts, and marching during the school's football games. The band eventually dissolved in 1927, but many attempts were made to revive them. The band was re-formed in 1946 by Gerald Marx. A saxophone player, Marx brought together around 50 players to play and march at university football and basketball games. They also played concerts around the area, including one in Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic. In 1952, The Air Force ROTC Band took over the marching duties on campus, leaving the university band only non-marching duties.
In 1956, the newly formed music department at the university took over the marching band after the ROTC band failed to meet expectations during its existence. Dr. Robert Mols led this new band, writing the current fight song "Victory" that is heard at football games and basketball games today. Mols wanted the band to be comparable to Ivy League marching bands, creating uniforms that resembled uniforms of the Ivy Leaguers of the day. The band opened to much success and fanfare thanks to the efforts of Mols and the band's many weeks of practice before their premiere. In 1959, Buffalo Philharmonic member Lowell Shaw took over leading the marching band; Mols went back to conducting the university Concert Band. In 1961, the band again changed leaders with Frank J. Cipolla at the helm. The University purchased new uniforms and a new version of the Alma Mater was written. It was at this time that the band acquired its first nickname, "Pride of the East." In 1968, the band had the distinction of being the first group on campus to move to the new North Campus to what is now Bissell Hall. In 1969, the band marched in Richard Nixon's inauguration parade. Between 1961 and the early 1970s, the band grew from only 50 members to over 300 members. The university joined the SUNY system in 1962, eventually leading to the elimination of the football team and with it the need for a marching band.
In 1981, a small group of students created a pep band for the then Division III football team. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, the band grew to become a Student Association group, so beginning the University at Buffalo Blue Noise Pep Band. During this time, there was talk of restarting the marching band, however it never developed. In 1999, the football returned to Division I. With this, the university decided a marching was again a necessity. Mark Flynn was made the director, and with the efforts of Kappa Kappa Psi, many local high schools, and Student Affairs, the Thunder of the East made its debut on September 11, 1999. In 2000, the band began its second season with new uniforms and new words to Victory March written by Dr. Mols, the original composer. It's believed that there were never any words for the original song. In the fall of 2001, the band made its first road trip in nearly 30 years to West Point to cheer on the Buffalo Bulls at Army's Michie Stadium.
The Thunder of the East is a Drum Corps style band that incorporates traditional marching band instrumentation. Instruments included in the Thunder of the East are:
- Alto/Tenor/Baritone Sax
- Mellophone (Horn in F)
- Tuba (Contra)
- On-Field Battery - Snare/Bass/Tenor Drum
- Sideline Pit - Bass Drum/Cymbals/Marimba/Xylophone/Gong
The Thunder of the East also has a Visual section to add artistic style to their performances This includes:
- Featured Twirlers
- UB Dazzlers Dance Team
Band practices last from 6:30PM to 8:30PM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the fall semester. This also coincides with MUS 130, an optional two credit course for members of the band. Rehearsals for the most part are held at Kunz Field on UB's North Campus, which was the primary field for UB football while they played in Division III. On occasion rehearsals may also be held at UB Stadium or indoors at Baird hall, home of the school's music department.
Marching band is associated with UB's Student Life, and together with the Pep Band, comprises the Athletic Bands. The band is not part of the School of Music at the university. However, all students in the band are given the option of taking MUS130, a 2 credit class.
Members of the Thunder of the East arrive one week prior to the start of UB's fall semester. Students are able to move into their assigned dorms prior to camp, allowing them to avoid the rush and chaos of university-wide move in day. During the week of Fun in the Sun, members are taught the marching style of the Thunder of the East, fitted for uniforms, and begin to learn that season's music and field show. Also during the time members of the drumline and Dazzlers Dance Team audition for their spots.
James E. Mauck has been the director for the Thunder of the East since 2002. He received his undergraduate and master's degree in music performance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently working towards a PhD. in Music Education. He is the head of the Department of Athletic Bands at the University at Buffalo. This includes the Thunder of the East and the Blue Noise Pep Band.
The band acquires help from several additional instructors. These include:
- Jim Allen - Assistant Director / Marching Instructor
- John Hathaway - Public Relations Director / Drum Instructor
- Kacy Dolan - Trumpet Instructor
- Joe Giarizzo - Woodwind Instructor
- Joe Stork - Drum Instructor
- Zak Legler - Brass Instructor
- Brandon Bryant - Drum Major Instructor
- Stephanie Waugh - Color Guard Choreographer
- Korinne Fort - Dazzler Coach
- Jack Prybylski - Woodwind/Music Instructor
- Jeff Styborksi - Drill Technician
- Michael McGlinn - Drill Technician
The drum majors for the Thunder of the East are the on-field commanders of the band, responsible for instructing proper marching technique and rehearsal etiquette. The Drum Majors primary responsibility is conducting the band. Drum Majors are chosen by the director after a series of auditions, held in the spring semester. The Drum Majors for the 2013 season are Kevin Jones and Lance Waithe.
The band is also led by a number of students that are elected at the end of the marching band season. The 2013 Marching Band Officers are:
- Commanding Officer - Remo Apuzzo
- Executive Officer - Bridget Hogan
- Executive Officer - Jess Reszitnyk
- Social Chair - Robert Slaughter
Each section has a student leader that focuses on their specified instrument. Their responsibilities include helping the freshman learn the band's unique style of marching, helping the Instructors teach the music to the their appropriate section, and providing low-level leadership under the instructors and officers. Section Leaders are selected by the Staff and Elected Officers.
2013 section leaders:
- Flutes - Erin Brady
- Clarinets - Nathan Sauer
- Alto Saxophones - Josef Mazeiko
- Tenor Saxophones - Tony Knox
- High Brass - Michael Merkwa, Allison Rickey
- Baritones - John Kinney
- Trombones - Mike Dowd
- Contras - Catie Bonga
- Battery - Rachel Sokoloff
- Color Guard - TBA
- Majorettes - TBA
- Dazzlers (Dance Team) - TBA
The Thunder of the East performs many times throughout the year. The band performs at every home football game, travels to at least one away game per year, and attends other events, such as parades and exhibition performances at New York State Field Band competitions. The Thunder of the East also accompanies the team to any/all Post-Season Performances. In 2008 the band followed the Bulls on their historic run to the MAC Championship and their first ever Bowl Game.
The band starts game day by warming up and performing a pre-game concert in front of Slee Hall, the university's concert hall. The sounds from this performance can be heard around most of the North Campus, in effect being the first of many pre-game "pep rallys" that the band will perform. The band then marches down the road, playing in parade formation, to UB Stadium where it will perform at 1-2 different tailgate parties and the Blue and White Club. While marching, the band plays selections from its halftime show. When the band arrives at the stadium, it takes the field to perform a pre-game show. The band then goes to its section in the stadium, next to the student section and plays typical game tunes along with some of its halftime show. At halftime, the band performs its show facing the home crowd on the west side of the stadium. After the performance, the band returns to the stands to again join the crowd cheering on the Bulls. After the game, the band performs its halftime show facing the east side of the stadium, consisting mostly of students.
The band travels to away games and many other events. Recent trips include:
- Penn State UB Bulls vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Football
- New York City Columbus Day Parade
- New York State Field Band Conference Championships at the Carrier Dome
- Lewiston, NY Peach Festival Parade
- Lancaster, NY NYSFBC competition
- University of Pittsburgh, UB Bulls vs. Pitt Panthers Football
- Detroit, MI, Mid-American Conference Championship - Ford Field
- Toronto, Canada, International Bowl - Rogers Centre